In one of the biggest votes of confidence in post-quake Canterbury, the world's biggest hotel chain has just announced it will build a huge new 200-room Novotel at Christchurch Airport.
Chris Sedgwick, Accor's senior vice president of operations for New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, announced the news this morning.
The 200-room Novotel hotel will be located next to the Christchurch International Terminal and is designed by Warren and Mahoney Architects, the same team behind the award-winning Novotel Auckland Airport hotel.
The image released with the announcement shows the planned building is similar to the existing Novotel at Auckland International Airport.
"The airport's investment in new services and increasing airline capacity suggests that the time is right for a new hotel in the precinct, particularly at a time when growing tourist numbers to New Zealand highlight the need for more accommodation," Sedgwick said.
"We continue to lead the hotel sector as an airport specialist, and as the largest operator of hotels in airport precincts in the Pacific region, we understand the specific needs of transiting short stay business and leisure travellers."
Malcolm Johns, Christchurch Airport chief executive, said the airport would invest $80 million in land and improvements for the hotel development. He says the new hotel will be the second on the airport campus and was a direct response to airline and passenger inquiries for increased short-term airport accommodation.
"Many of our Asian flights arrive in the evening, bringing visitors who have been flying for 12 hours or more. They want to rest before beginning their exploration of the South Island and expect to be able to do that near the airport and all its facilities, including the tourism transport hub.
"Corporate and leisure travellers arrive here on trans-Tasman flights late at night, some around midnight, and leave early in the morning. In both cases, they expect to be able to stay overnight on the airport campus. From the end of next year, many more will be able to do that," Johns said.
Construction of the Christchurch hotel will start in May and the hotel is due to open later next year.