Report analyses visitor support during Christchurch earthquake
A new report released today analyses how thousands of visitors were supported following the 22 February Christchurch earthquake.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s report, The Christchurch earthquake and the visitor sector, looks at matters specific to visitors following the earthquake, says Acting Deputy Secretary Adrienne Meikle.
“The sector proved to be nimble in extraordinary circumstances – responding quickly and working with Civil Defence Emergency Management, despite the absence of formal emergency planning for the visitor sector.
“There may have been as many as 12,000 international visitors in Christchurch at the time of the February earthquake. Visitors were given the same care and assistance as residents, but also had their own unique needs. Some did not know the area and faced language difficulties. Many did not have friends or family to support them.
“The report will assist the visitor sector and government in ensuring visitors’ specific needs are known, planned for and met during future times of emergency,” says Ms Meikle.
Dr Susanne Becken, the report’s author, analysed publicly-released information and interviewed people in the tourism and emergency management sectors. The report makes recommendations to enhance the sector’s disaster preparedness capability and to better integrate the particular challenges of the sector into broader emergency management structures.
In particular, the report draws attention to the need for closer co-operation between regional tourism organisations and local civil defence groups to link the visitor sector into the broader emergency response framework.