Calls for more accommodation at Christchurch Airport have been heeded with the South Island of New Zealand experiencing a boom in tourism this year. By December 2017, the airport will have 264,000 rooms per year available at the airport – a 200% increase.
Christchurch Airport Chief Commercial Officer Justin Watson explains: “Many of our new Asian flights arrive in the evening, bringing visitors who have been flying for 12 hours or more. They want to rest before beginning their exploration of the South Island and expect to be able to do that near the airport. Plus corporate and leisure travellers arrive here on trans-Tasman flights late at night, some around midnight, or leave early in the morning”.
One concern in New Zealand’s tourism sector is driver safety. Arriving after a long flight and then immediately hiring a car to drive to accommodation, in a new country where cars drive on the left-hand side of the road, is a recipe for crashes. Sleeping overnight at the airport may also have some additional safety benefits as well as convenience for travellers.
And it’s not all airport hotel rooms. At the budget or backpacker end of the market, a world-first JUCY Snooze pod-style hostel will open 280 beds up later this year. Sudima Christchurch Airport offers 242 hotel rooms as a result of its recent redevelopment, and at the end of next year,Novotel will offer a 4.5 star hotel with 200 rooms at the end of the international arrivals area.
Christchurch airport will welcome an all-time record 6.3 million passengers in the current financial year – 800,000 up on the previous year. It’s the opportunity Christchurch’s tourism industry has needed after the post-quake low point of 5.5 million visitors.