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Visitors keep Auckland Airport busy while Christchurch tourist operators bemoan drop in business

Thursday 22nd December 2011 1 Comment

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More overseas visitors flooded through the gateways at Auckland International Airport but fewer of them appear to have Christchurch on their local itinerary, new data and surveys show.

Auckland Airport’s international passenger volumes rose 5 percent to 582,148 in November from the same month last year. Domestic passenger volumes climbed 2.3 percent to 518,115, having fallen away during the Rugby World Cup. The airport has seen 25% more Chinese visitors this month compared to the previous year, following the introduction of daily flights from China Southern from Nov. 1, the company said. Domestic passenger numbers for the airport have increased by 2.3% over the same period.

The influx may bode well for the north of the country but tourism operators expect to see little trickle down effect into Canterbury, where earthquake damage has spoiled the appeal of the once-scenic city of Christchurch, once a favourite backdrop for Japanese wedding photographs.

Tourism operators are expecting demand to drop 14 percent to 24 percent in the Canterbury region over the next few months, according to a survey by the Ministry of Economic Development’s tourism industry monitor. They’re also predicting a 7 percent decline in Otago.

By contrast, tourism growth in the top of the South Island is forecast between zero and 5 percent, the same as the lower North Island. The central North Island’s growth is seen at zero to 4 percent, with Auckland and Northland seen in a range between a 3 percent decline and a 2 percent increase.

The report cited global economic conditions, a weak international visitor market and the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes as the main negative influences on tourism.

Auckland Airport also owns 75% of Queenstown airport, which recorded a 62 percent jump in international passengers to 10,376 in November from a year earlier, reflecting increased volumes reflecting more trans-Tasman flights to Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Each month over the last year has seen higher passenger numbers compared with the year before, with an average 61.4% increase for compared with last year.

Air New Zealand’s passenger numbers for domestic flights fell by about 5,000 to 704,000 in the 12 months ended Nov.30, and international traveller numbers dropped 7000 to 340,000.

The company has planned to review its long-haul programme and will be releasing results of the review throughout 2012.

Today it announced services taking travellers from Brisbane and Sydney to Norfolk five days a week, to compliment flights from Auckland to the same destination.

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Comments from our readers

On 22 December 2011 at 4:59 pm Conan said:
AIA owns 75 % of Queenstown airport.? I don't think so. Get the facts right.
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