NZ invests millions to invite Aussies back

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism will next month roll out a million dollar campaign called 'Christchurch Reimagined', in a bid to invite Australians back to the region post earthquake.

Set to launch 24 September, the campaign will support the city's forthcoming $30 billion CBD redevelopment plan, unveiled to media yesterday in Sydney by Christchurch mayor Bob Parker.

The rebuild plans to establish several new hotels, restaurants, cultural centers and tourist attractions to replace those lost in the February 2011 earthquakes.

The new campaign hopes to remove disaster-stricken perceptions Australians may hold of the South Island. "It will showcase the excitement of the developing city through the eyes of its residents and also visitors. It was designed to get Australians to sit up and take notice and put Christchurch back on their travel radar", said the brand in a statement.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter told AdNews: "Christchurch Reimagined is about selling the proposition of a city in transition, from being compromised to being a viable destination.

"We feel we have built enough, got our infrastructure and accommodation sorted and that it's time it invite Australians back.

"In future years it will be about a totally new city, so that proposition will evolve, with this the first step. We will create some digital properties which we will develop and use in subsequent years."

Iris Worldwide is the agency behind the campaign, taking out a competitive pitch involving a shortlist of six agencies in Melbourne and Sydney. Hunter told AdNews the brand received between 40 and 50 applicants initially, with the ad spend to exceed $1 million.

Print, digital media and out-of-home executions will run throughout Australia and be the primary platforms for the campaign.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said: "It's amazing what is happening in the scale of the economic opportunities. We will hopefully be looking at a situation of a zero unemployment rate in the next 12 months.

"I want you to think of the city in a different way to the way it has been portrayed in the last couple years as a place of great devastation, loss, great suffering and pain. While they are one side of the story, there is another that starts to emerge quite strongly and that is the realisation about the scale of the opportunity and the innovation available to us.

"We have invested a huge amount of money in a lot of new first class infrastructure and facilities and we have a plan and a vision to make Christchurch strong, vibrant and liveable.

"When Australians come over, the generosity that was shown to us is very much reflected in the feeling of the people", Parker said.

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