City Chills to Winter Thrills: Christchurch braces for bumper winter

City Chills to Winter Thrills: Christchurch braces for bumper winter
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Christchurch is bracing for its most lucrative winter travel period in a decade with local businesses anticipating a bumper ski season and high demand across the school holidays.

    Ōtautahi Christchurch and Waitaha Canterbury is the ultimate winter playground for families this year as the city’s regional tourism operator plans for a prosperous peak travel period between June and August. With a vibrant, modern city ready to welcome the world, and conveniently less than an hour and a half away from major ski fields, this year’s travel promotion features a suite of deals designed to entice travelers to book the ultimate family getaway.

    “Tourism operators around the country understand the immense pressures on families to balance holiday experiences with a modern budget. Parents and caregivers are looking for fun ways to make memories and make the most of their trip at an affordable price. Our approach this year is to educate Kiwis that Christchurch and the Canterbury region are the ultimate family destination and a perfect place for a winter break,” says ChristchurchNZ head of tourism Kath Low.

    Over 30 partners have joined the campaign in a ‘Winter Deals’ program, sharing discounts or free add-ons to assist families and small groups to the destination, all designed to slow travelers down, extend their nights stay, explore the revitalized city centre and drive consideration into conversion in major fly and drive markets.

    “We’re looking forward to a busy winter. Demand for travel to Christchurch and the South Island remains strong and key airlines have bolstered their services for the coming season,” says Justin Watson, Chief Executive of Christchurch Airport.

    “Both Qantas and Jetstar have increased their trans-Tasman services. Qantas has increased its capacity by 8.4 per cent while Jetstar has boosted its international capacity by 15.1 per cent with the Christchurch-Melbourne service up to five return flights per week. This all translates to our cousins across the ditch having fantastic access to Christchurch during the peak winter travel period and a potentially bumper ski season,” concludes Watson.

    Alongside resuming major international and domestic flight services, the addition of three new hotels to the city centre since 2022 also expands accommodation capacity and provides competitive pricing in the sector. Despite the additional supply, hotels such as the Rydges Latimer were near full capacity.

    “As an accommodation provider, it has been fantastic to see an extended summer of events in the city, including the Electric Avenue music festival, a Trans-Tasman cricket Test, two Warriors games and the bonus SailGP regatta pushing into late March. Being in a prime city-centre location, we have enjoyed a busy summer period with guests coming from all over the country to enjoy what Ōtautahi has to offer,” says Rydges Latimer General Manager Craig Wood.

    “Incentivising an extra night’s stay is a win-win for the city. Everyone from accommodation providers to hospitality, tourism attractions and retail benefit from additional time spent here. Christchurch does winter incredibly well; with a dozen ski fields so close and this vibrant, new city, we are ready to welcome back the country, and the world,” says Wood.

    Tourism providers from across the region have joined the campaign to tempt travelers to their attractions. From Banks Peninsula to the Southern Alps and throughout the city, families will be able to save on group experiences and do much more on their dollar, including bucket list activities like Hector’s dolphin cruises in Akaroa and train journey through the Southern Alps. With over a dozen ski fields within 90 mins of Christchurch, ski operators are most excited about what winter holds.

    “Christchurch is the gateway to Canterbury’s smorgasbord of ski areas, offering a variety of snow, ski, and snowboard experiences. From the easy access of Mt Hutt to the adventurous smaller ski areas in the Selwyn region, there is over 3600 vertical metres and more than 1600 hectares of terrain to explore with two hours of the city,” says Shay Robinson, Selwyn district’s Principal Advisor for Economic Development.

    “Families are well catered for at Porters, the closest ski area to Christchurch, with beginner packages inclusive of lift access, ski hire, lessons and this year’s snow play initiative. For more adventurous families, there are plenty of options to stay close to the ski areas, with on-mountain accommodation, inclusive of catering and bunk style lodging, including Mt Cheeseman, Broken River, and Craigieburn Valley,” says Robinson.

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