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Giant cruise ships coming to Christchurch

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/05/2017

A $56 million port berth designed for the world's largest cruise ships is set to be built in Christchurch.

Plans released by the Lyttelton Port Company on Monday show liners the size of the MS Oasis of the Seas, at 362m long and 225,282 tonnes in weight, should be able to dock at the berth by the 2019-20 cruise season.

The dock will allow cruise liners to return to Christchurch's main port for the first time since it was damaged by the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.

Cruise liners have, in the meantime, been docking at nearby Akaroa.

"Without this long-term solution there was a risk larger vessels would choose to bypass Lyttelton and Akaroa, impacting the wider Canterbury region," Minister of Tourism Paula Bennett says.

"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."

In the 2015-16 year, the industry contributed $484 million to the New Zealand economy and is forecast to grow to $490 million in the 2016-2017 season.

Ms Bennett said the berth funded by the Christchurch City Council followed on from the Auckland Council giving in principle support to plans to extend its inner city Queens Wharf to allow larger cruise ships to berth rather than anchoring in the harbour.

"It's a huge vote of confidence in tourism by our local body leaders," she says.

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