The High Commissioner of New Zealand, Derek Leask, has urged travellers not to be deterred by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake which has caused carnage in Christchurch,
During an interview, Derek described the impact that the earthquake was likely to have on New Zealand’s economy, but said that the damage is localised to Christchurch, the south island, while the rest of the country is very much open to tourism.
All services in other parts of New Zealand are operating as usual. Areas of Canterbury that are operating normally include Akaroa, Kaikoura and Hanmer. All New Zealand airports and main roads are open also open.
Derek commented: “The economic effect of this earthquake will be high. It is important the rest of the economy, including the very important tourism sector, keep ticking over.”
He described the scenes of “shock, grief and grim scenes” in Christchurch in which 113 people have been killed with over 220 missing. He commended New Zealanders for their ongoing courage at this time.
He added “This is not just a New Zealand tragedy but an international one.”
Offering his condolences to British families directly affected, he commented: “Sorry to see there have been some Britons killed.”
Tourism New Zealand re-iterates this message, with a statement on their website that damage caused by the Christchurch earthquake on Tuesday, 22 February is localised to the Christchurch area of the south island of New Zealand.”
Visitors are being advised to avoid non-essential travel to Christchurch City and Lyttelton. Intending travellers are encouraged to keep travel bookings for New Zealand, but should avoid Christchurch City and Lyttelton if travelling before 7 March.