Touring route to link region
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.’’