Tour­ing route to link re­gion

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE -

A pro­posed tour­ing route con­nect­ing Cen­tral Otago to Queen­stown and Dunedin through the Man­iototo and Strath Taieri will link the re­gion to the net­work of other suc­cess­ful tour­ing routes around the coun­try.

The Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict Coun­cil last week gave the green light to the next stage of work re­quired to es­tab­lish a recog­nised tour­ing route.

Mayor Tim Cado­gan said this was an ini­tia­tive with great po­ten­tial to spread the ben­e­fits of tourism through­out the dis­trict.

‘‘In the same way that the Otago Cen­tral Rail Trail has stim­u­lated new in­vest­ment, eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment, the pro­posed tour­ing route would pro­vide vis­i­tors with ideas and in­for­ma­tion that will en­able them to get out and ex­plore more of our dis­trict and our ‘world of dif­fer­ence’.’’

Tourism New Zealand’s act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Brighid Kelly had given sup­port for the pro­posed route, which would en­able the re­gion to tap into TNZ’s off­shore mar­ket­ing spend, pro­vid­ing a boost to the re­gion, he said.

Ini­tial dis­cus­sions with the New Zealand Trans­port Agency had also been pos­i­tive.

‘‘They have in­di­cated a will­ing­ness to part­ner with CODC to fund the de­vel­op­ment of the route. We aren’t com­mit­ting new fund­ing to the de­vel­op­ment of the route un­til the next stage in the project is com­pleted. We need to see a fully de­vel­oped bud­get and un­der­stand what the re­turns will be be­fore the project is given the fi­nal go ahead by coun­cil.’’

The next step was to fully price the es­tab­lish­ment cost for the route, he said.

Tourism Cen­tral Otago (TCO) act­ing gen­eral man­ager Glenys Cough­lan said the idea of a tour­ing route had been in its plans for a num­ber of years.

‘‘The New Zealand tourism in­dus­try’s ‘Tourism 2025’ strat­egy has a strong fo­cus on at­tract­ing vis­i­tors through­out the year to smooth out the peaks and troughs in sea­sonal vis­i­ta­tion. Its goal of dis­pers­ing trav­ellers be­yond the main tourism gate­ways adds to the di­ver­sity of vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ences and spreads vis­i­tor spend through­out the coun­try.’’

Tour­ing routes were a great ve­hi­cle for dis­pers­ing vis­i­tors be­yond tra­di­tional tourism routes, and with Cen­tral Otago’s dis­tinc­tive sea­sons, op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­mote the re­gion as the des­ti­na­tion with four spec­tac­u­lar sea­sons were strong.

‘‘We see the pro­posed route as just the be­gin­ning.’’

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