Aussie gets in on tourism campaign

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 17:23 10/10/2012

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An Australian businesswoman is offering to organise delivery of a ''big thing'' in response to Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker's tongue-in-cheek campaign to lure Australians to the earthquake-hit city.

A quirky $1.2 million trans-Tasman marketing campaign was launched in Australia last week, with new images of the city to replace those from the February 2011 quake when destruction was shown around the world.

A mockumentary-style series featuring Parker and his ''assistant'' trying to recreate Australian icons in Christchurch drew a mixed reaction.

Half-page advertisements appeared in major Australian newspapers last week and Parker conducted several media interviews.

Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry has now released a ''memo to Bob Parker'' on YouTube.

She offers to bring the big pineapple, merino sheep or prawns.

''If you can get one of those [big things] then I will bring it to you on one of our big ships,'' she says.

''We can't wait to bring shiploads of Aussies, big shiploads of Aussies, to Christchurch.''

Parker said Sherry had laid out a ''great challenge''.

''We're thinking about how to respond to her and I think the Aussie agency are plotting something at the moment.''

He said this showed the campaign was generating publicity in Australia.

Australia is New Zealand's top visitor source, but numbers to Christchurch have fallen dramatically because of quake worries.

Before the quakes in 2010 there were about 203,000 holiday arrivals from Australia to Christchurch, but that number dropped 43 per cent to 111,000 in 2011-12, Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said.

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