CHRISTCHURCH IS REBOUNDING from 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastated the city, destroying 80 percent of the downtown Central Business District and killing 185 citizens. When I visited in 2012, the ruins of the central city were cordoned off — I recall peering through barriers to see the fallen tower of the stately cathedral and then driving by the temporary Cardboard Cathedral built of cardboard tubes, timber and steel. As that temporary church continues to hold services, the church spire is displayed at the Quake City Museum, and plans to rebuild — not replace — the cathedral are in discussion.
In the rest of the CBD Red Zone, recovery is well underway. Guided tours pass the new Convention Centre rising on Cathedral Square; the rebuilt Town Hall of Performing Arts; and the Memorial Wall, with a spray fountain where visitors wet their hands in the Māori tradition of cleansing after visiting a grave. Street art walking tours focus on many colorful outdoor murals. The bustling new Riverside Market attracts visitors to galleries, restaurants, bars and nightclubs of The Terrace.
Christchurch serves as a base camp for active exploring. Chill Bike Tours rents vintage bicycles for pedaling past heritage sites. Flat-bottomed punts offer rides on the river, and a gondola rises up to the Port Hills. A hop-on, hop-off Tram Tour passes 17 stops with commentary showcasing the Botanic Gardens, the Gothic Revival-style Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and visits to affluent coastal suburbs. Even adults acclaim Margaret Mahy Playground, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.
In “the city of pioneering women,” the mayor and CEO are female, and you can find lists of workshops, performances and other activities for women online. Efficient guides listed on the ToursBy Locals website help make arrangements for specialty activities. One guide features visits to privately owned gardens, including one with a forest of sacred, native, giant kauri trees. Another takes visitors to the merino sheep farm his family has owned since 1884 to interact with neighbors, feed the chickens and watch dogs herding the sheep. Guests dine on local produce — mutton, yogurt, cabbage, pears, peaches — and taste Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and other wines from nearby vineyards such as Greystone, Pyramid Valley and Waipara Springs.
Canadian airline WestJet will now offer free COVID-19 travel insurance on eligible bookings to Mexico, the Caribbean and European destinations, including the United Kingdom, made on or after Sept. 18.
IHG® Business Edge provides small- to midsized enterprises with benefits and confidence to navigate the evolving business travel environment.
Creating a wellness environment in the workplace is a terrific idea, and many companies acknowledge the benefits of providing health and wellness programs to employees. However, the concept is anything but new. More than a century ago, Johnson & Johnson offered its New Jersey-based employees access to an on-site health center and a fitness center with a swimming pool and basketball court. In the 1970s, the company followed with the launch of Live for Life, an on-site wellness program with “access to behavior modification tools and education on topics like nutrition, stress management and more.”
United Airlines is the first U.S. airline to launch a rapid COVID-19 testing program for travelers. Beginning Oct. 15, United customers traveling from San Francisco International Airport to will be able to take a rapid test at the airport or a self-collected, mail-in test before their trip.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
Conrad Punta de Mita opened earlier this month as Hilton’s first-ever Conrad-branded resort in Mexico. In celebration, the Hola Conrad offer is available when booking four nights or more. Starting at $349 per night, the offer includes round-trip airport transfers; a $100 resort credit; and complimentary access to Conrad SPA’s wet areas.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
The Inn on Fifth in Naples, Florida, has a new Peace & Quiet offer for remote workers who need a break from their work-from-home settings. Through Oct. 29, the offer includes a standard room equipped with a six-foot worktable featuring four ports for charging electronics; a mini fridge stocked with bottled waters and fresh fruit; a pool-side food and beverage credit; one smoothie daily; full use of rooftop pool, courtyard and fitness center; complimentary valet parking and WiFi; 24-hour concierge service; and room service 11 a.m.–8 p.m.