Aussies drop Chch travel warning
A controversial travel advisory warning tourists to be careful when visiting Christchurch and Lyttelton has been changed.
For months, the warning on Australia's smartraveller.gov.au website has told travellers to ''pay close attention to your personal security at all times" when visiting the city.
The Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade Department yesterday changed the warning to advise tourists to "exercise normal safety precautions" in Christchurch and Lyttelton.
The advisory is now the same as for the rest of New Zealand.
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the change was "great news".
"Getting tourism back on its feet in the region is incredibly important for the rebuild and recovery of the wider Canterbury region," he said.
"We want to encourage visitors back to the region and to support local tourism businesses."
Associate Tourism Minister Chris Tremain welcomed the change and said Australia was Christchurch's biggest market for tourists.
"Last year, about 1.1 million Australians visited New Zealand, and we want to encourage them to head to Christchurch because there are still plenty of attractions and activities for them to enjoy safely in the city and the wider region," he said.
"The updated travel advice removes any doubt over the fact that Christchurch Airport is fully operational. This is important as the airport is and remains the gateway to the South Island for tourism."