Cycle trail funding boost win for the south, local MPs say
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay say a Budget 2016 Cycle Trail funding spending boost is a win for the south.
The Government will provide $25 million in additional funding over the next four years to ensure the highly successful New Zealand Cycle Trail continues to offer a world-class visitor experience.
More than $13 million of this will go towards linking trails in the Central Otago region, where there are four existing Great Rides.
The Central Trails Network proposes to create an international standard 536km continuous cycle trail network by linking four existing Central Otago Great Rides – the Queenstown Trail, the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, and the Clutha Gold Trail.
“This exciting project will open up our region for multi-day cycle journeys, resulting in cyclists staying longer and spending more in the local economy,” Ms Dean said.
“It will support new tourism businesses, and create jobs in trail construction,” Mr Barclay said.
Last year, the Queenstown Trail had more than 151,000 users while the Otago Central Rail Trail attracted almost 15,000 users, the local MPs said.
“Economic impact surveys on the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, and the Clutha Gold Trail estimate last year these trails directly generated more than $8.9 million for the local economy and provided employment for 106 fulltime equivalent staff,” Ms Dean said.
“Otago Central Rail Trail users now stay on average for four nights and spend $177 a day.
“A 2012 survey estimates Queenstown Trail cyclists spend $3.7 million a year in the region,” Mr Barclay said.
The Central Trails Trust estimates lifting trail numbers to 30,000 a year has the potential to contribute more than $13 million to regional GDP and provide 260 jobs.
This project is the type of enhancement to the Great Rides the Government wants to encourage,” Ms Dean said.
“There is already significant local funding conditionally committed. It’s great to see our local communities working together,” Mr Barclay said.
The Cycle Trail investment is part of a $45 million tourism package in Budget 2016 to further support tourism’s contribution to economic and job growth in regions across New Zealand.
Authorised by Jacqui Dean MP, 127 Thames St, Oamaru.