Posted 9/4/2012 - 9:51:13 AM
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND—Accor's Ibis Christchurch opened its doors today, becoming the first city center hotel here to reopen since the area's February 2011 earthquake.
The Ibis, located in Hereford St., just off Cathedral Square, has undergone major remedial work, including the renovation of all 155 rooms and public areas, as well as structural strengthening to meet the city’s new building code. Just four years old when the quake hit, the Ibis received only minor damage and reopens as a virtually new hotel featuring the latest Ibis branding and facilities.
The hotel opening will help in the revitalization of Christchurch’s tourism sector, signaling that the city is ready to welcome visitors, and benefit business travelers and officials involved in the reconstruction of the city. In addition, 50 persons are employed at the hotel, helping the local economy.
The launch of the hotel comes a month after the announcement of a masterplan for the “re-imagining” of the city. The Ibis will be close to the proposed convention center, as well as other key tourism, shopping and entertainment facilities.
Hotel Ibis Christchurch General Manager, Tim Dearsley, said that the September 4th re-aunch date was selected because it represents the second anniversary of the first major quake to hit Christchurch, although it didn’t have the same impact as the subsequent February 2011 quake.
“Christchurch tourism has suffered enormously because of the perception that the city was closed following the earthquake,” Dearsley said. “This was never true, but the re-opening of the Ibis will highlight that the city center is now accessible to travelers and that there is plenty to do in the city, including many of the old activities, as well as new and innovative tourism experiences." He noted authorities aim to have the city fully open by the middle of 2013.
Accor’s Novotel Christchurch hotel is scheduled to re-open in mid-2013, while the future of the group’s two All Seasons hotels is yet to be determined due to restricted access to the hotels following the earthquake.