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Author: friscoguy

Joined: 5/5/2010
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

32 countires including Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Jordan, Morrocco, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, all over Europe, South Africa, Brazil.

Traveler Since: 2005

September 08, 2010

I will be traveling to New Zealand in December.  Any word on how last weekend's earthquake might impact GCT travel to the region.  We have four days scheduled in Christchurch and are concerned that the damage may have damaged some of the places on our itinerary. 

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 272
GCT Trips Taken: 0
OAT Trips Taken: 0

September 08, 2010

The Central Business District of Christchurch is now open to the public. Rydges Christchurch, the hotel that we use, is fully functional and continues to operate all services and outlets.

We have been in touch with the staff in our regional office. They advised that we are not anticipating any itinerary changes for the upcoming departures, thus, you should not expect any disruptions to your tour in December.

Author: beverlyguest

Joined: 7/22/2010
Posts: 5
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2010

September 24, 2010

I am glad you asked this question. I will be on the same tour and was wondering if it was going to effect us.

Author: friscoguy

Joined: 5/5/2010
Posts: 2
GCT Trips Taken: 2
OAT Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

32 countires including Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Jordan, Morrocco, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, all over Europe, South Africa, Brazil.

Traveler Since: 2005

January 09, 2011

I just returned and would highly recommend that Grand Circle not send groups to Christchurch.  There was an aftershock at a 4.9 magnitude two days before our arrival bringing additional damage to the area and destabilizing fragile structures.  My fellow travelers and I were unnerved by the sight of so much destruction from both the September and December quakes.  The hotel manager briefed us on evacuation procedure after checking in.  Although the hotel was fine, it was like being in a war zone.  Many buildings had severe damage and several dozen had BEWARE signs and were cordoned of with with metal fencing until they could be determined as safe.  While we were there the huge stone cross was removed from the cathedral in the main square for safety reasons.  Many of us walked around taking pictures of toppled buildings.  Our tour leader said at the final debriefing that she was appalled upon arrival at the damage and that many of the restraurants and places that she had previously visited were no longer there.  Our home hosts for the overnight stays were also dealing with the post-traumatic stress of having survived two natural disastersThe gardens are still lovely and I know that the area desperately want the tourism, but GCT should seriously reassess this situation in terms of the EXPERIENCE that it wants to offer to travelers in a sesmically unsafe and severely traumatized area.

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