A beautiful tulip lantern has been installed at Christchurch International Airport as a ‘welcome bouquet’ and to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The brightly coloured lantern, which is brand new to the city and comprised of 20 tulips, has been set up on the lawn outside the airport terminal in anticipation of the Christchurch Lantern Festival being held on Saturday 10 March and Sunday 11 March, from 6pm-10pm.
Hundreds of lanterns will light up the Ōtākaro Avon River Precinct – following the river and running from Friendship corner (Durham and Lichfield), past the Bridge of Remembrance to Worcester Street and up into Cathedral Square. Last year the event attracted thousands of people, with even more anticipated to turn out in 2018.
Christchurch Airport Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson said the airport is New Zealand’s fastest growing entry point for Chinese visitors. Statistics show the airport’s Chinese visitor arrivals grew by 59 percent in December.
“In that month alone, we added 2,144 more Chinese visitor arrivals, more than 60 percent of the total increase for the whole of New Zealand.
“The 2018 Chinese New Year is looking to be our strongest ever. Having the lantern set up outside the terminal is a fitting way to make Chinese visitors feel welcome, and lets all visitors to Christchurch know they can attend the lantern festival and soak up our vibrant central city.”
Christchurch Councillor Raf Manji, who is also a member of festival partner Asia New Zealand Foundation’s board, said the popularity of the lantern festival shows Christchurch is a multi-cultural and friendly place for visitors and immigrants, as well as those calling it home.
“The festival and other events that are associated with it – like a welcome event for students and a business forum aimed at business working, or wanting to, in China – are helping our city and region develop deeper friendships as well as economic, business, trade and visitor opportunities with China.”
Major roadworks are happening in the Central City at present, so festival goers are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time to get to and from the event.
Major partners working with ChristchurchNZ to put on this year’s Lantern Festival include Christchurch City Council, Bank of China, Novo Advertising, Christchurch International Airport and Asia New Zealand Foundation.