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Plans for a new multi-million dollar cruise ship berth released today by the Lyttelton Port Company will open up new tourism opportunities for Christchurch, says Tourism Minister Paula Bennett.

The $56 million dollar berth funded by the Christchurch City Council through its port company will enable large cruise liners to return to Lyttelton for the first time since the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

“I am applauding the leadership shown by Christchurch City Council and Lyttelton Port Company to recognise the value of the $484 million cruise sector to Canterbury tourism” says Mrs Bennett.

“The cruise industry is incredibly valuable to New Zealand tourism, with the number of passengers growing by 48 per cent in the past five years. Without this long-term solution there was a risk larger vessels would choose to bypass Lyttelton and Akaroa, impacting the wider Canterbury region.

“In 2015 the Government announced the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan which allows for works that contribute to the recovery of the port to be undertaken quickly and outlined a $45 million dedicated cruise berth facility.

“This news follows Auckland Council giving support in principle to extend Queens Wharf to allow larger cruise ships like the Ovation of the Seas to berth, rather than anchor in the harbour.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence in tourism by our local body leaders and Government will continue to work alongside them to get the most out of our tourism boom.”

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