Expedia promotes Christchurch travel offer with picture of cathedral wrecked in earthquake

Travel brand Expedia has this morning made the extraordinary blunder of emailing its Australian database to promote cheap holidays in New Zealand – and illustrated the offer with a large image of Christchurch Cathedral’s spire, which was destroyed in yesterday’s disastrous earthquake.

It has been widely reported that several dead bodies are likely to still be among the rubble of the cathedral.

expedia_christchurchThe email went out at around 9am, Sydney time.

One possibility is that the email was prepared several days ago and sent out automatically with nobody at the travel company thinking to prevent it being sent. Mumbrella understands that Expedia’s email marketing operation is based in the UK rather than locally.

However, at the time of writing, the offer was also still being promoted on’s home page using an image of the cathedral.

expedia_christchurch_home_page10.59am update. Nicolas Chu, Expedia’s GM for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement:

“Expedia sincerely apologises for the unfortunate timing of this communication, which was removed from our website as soon as we became aware of the contents. The fact is that these promotional emails are built and deployed from our team in London and this one was deployed before the earthquake hit. It goes without saying that we are extremely saddened about the devastation the earthquake has caused to the people of Christchurch and Expedia apologises for any insensitivity towards the people of Christchurch, which of course was not our intention. We are working with Expedia customers who are planning to travel to or from the affected area to make alternative travel arrangements.”

Expedia has now closed its 72 hour sale.


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