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New Zealand welcomes lifting of Australian travel warning on earthquake city

08-15-2012 14:19 BJT

WELLINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's earthquake- battered second city of Christchurch received a boost Wednesday when the country's biggest tourism market lifted a travel warning on the city and the surrounding Canterbury region.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Associate Tourism Minister Chris Tremain welcomed news that the Australian government had revised its travel warning for Christchurch and the nearby port of Lyttelton.

"Getting tourism back on its feet in the region is incredibly important for the rebuild and recovery of the wider Canterbury region," Brownlee said in a statement Wednesday.

"The Australian government updated its travel advisory for Christchurch and Lyttelton yesterday and removed reference to the need to exercise a high degree of caution, which is great news," Brownlee said.

"We want to encourage visitors back to the region and to support local tourism businesses."

Tremain said the advice on a website run by the Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade Department had been updated to advise tourists to "exercise normal safety precautions" in Christchurch and Lyttelton, which was the same as for the rest of the New Zealand.

"Australia is our biggest market for inbound tourists, accounting for around half of all visitors," Tremain said in the statement.

"Last year about 1.1 million Australians visited New Zealand and we want to encourage them to head to Christchurch because there are still plenty of attractions and activities for them to enjoy safely in the city and the wider region," Tremain said.

"The updated travel advice removes any doubt over the fact that Christchurch Airport is fully operational. This is important as the airport is and remains the gateway to the South Island for tourism," he said.

Christchurch has been rocked by a series of earthquakes since September 2010, including a magnitude 6.3 quake that killed 185 people on Feb. 22 last year.



Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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