Cycle trails assessed in a recent survey are impacting positively on their areas economically, but it is too early to note a specific trend for the Alps2Ocean.
This view was expressed by Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill after a report, Nga Haerenga, the NZ Cycle Trail Evaluation Report, was released last week.
The report showed businesses and communities in areas served by the New Zealand Cycle Trail (NZCT) were making progress, with increased economic activity and more visitors.
“It’s way too early to talk of trends and it’s early in the life of the cycle trail (Alps2Ocean),” Mr Gaskill said.
“All indications are positive and we’re pretty optimistic about how things are going.”
He said operators and accommodation providers were saying this summer had seen more cyclists on the trail and some businesses were looking at further development work and providing other activities.
“All the signs are positive,” Mr Gaskill said.
Alps2Ocean marketing manager Jason Menard said more businesses were expected to open in the near future to cater to the ever-growing and diverse needs of cyclists.
There are now 135 official partner businesses.
“Although we are mainly seeing domestic riders on the trail, the A2O has also proven to be especially popular with Australians, Europeans, and Americans.
“The AlpsOcean has become quite popular in a short amount of time. Cycling from the highest mountain in Australasia to the ocean is clearly resonating with people.”
The NZCT evaluation report showed visitors were staying one to three nights and spending between $131 and $176 a day per person.
Good progress was being made in job creation and contribution to the local economy, the report said.
The report comprised interviews with trail managers and surveys of business owners and trail users, as well as case studies of the Mountains to Sea Trail in Manawatu, the Hauraki trail in Waikato, the Motu Trail on the East Coast and the Queenstown Trail.
The report stated 98 per cent of users said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with their cycle trail experience and 97 per cent of trail users said they were likely to recommend the trail to others.
“The cycle trails are making great progress towards achieving their goals of creating a high quality tourism asset for New Zealand,” NZCT chairman Richard Leggat said.
“The trails have already received international recognition for their quality, receiving the honourable mention award at the International Trails Symposium in April last year.”
BY CHRIS TOBIN