Christchurch Airport’s position as the South Island’s gateway has gone from strength to strength following a bumper year for visitor arrivals.
Official statistics reveal Christchurch Airport’s arrivals growth over the past year was more than twice that of the national growth (8.5% CH v 3.9% NZ).
Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer, Justin Watson, says the statistics are outstanding and reveal strong growth from all the key visitor markets of Australia (+7.8%), China (+25.0%), Europe (+7.7%) and the United States (+11.8%).
“The growth reinforces the collective work we have been doing with the South Island tourism industry and our airline partners to grow connectivity and arrivals into the South Island. We champion the South Island at home and abroad as a must-see visitor destination,” he says.
“Our airline partners have added more services, and improved connectivity to their networks, making it easier and more convenient for both visitors and residents to fly into and out of Christchurch. Now with more than 10,000 international flights a year, connections to the rest of the world have never been better”.
Mr Watson says the growth is not only great news for travellers, but also for the regional economies of the South Island and for exporters.
“The vast majority of visitors through Christchurch travel around the South Island. With each visitor spending an average of $3600, they make a significant economic contribution to the regional economies of the South Island. Whether it’s a five star hotel in Christchurch or a cafe on the West Coast, the financial impact of the extra arrivals is being widely felt.
“Southern produce is getting to major international markets direct and quickly on our international airlines, with record numbers of South Island produce landing on Chinese New Year celebration dinner tables each year.”
Mr Watson says a record number of people has been through the terminal in the past year and is likely to reach seven million visitors in the current financial year.
“Every traveller averages one person meeting or greeting them, so it’s safe to say we’ll welcome well more than 12 million people in total this year. The terminal and all our processes are set up for that – and more – and we are constantly looking at how we can improve the experience for everyone who comes through the airport”.
Mr Watson says the airport has won several awards this year, including being named in the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards as the best regional airport in Australasia/Pacific.
“We take our role as championing the South Island seriously, knowing the impact it has for our city, the South Island and the national economy.”