Trust backs findings on trail benefits

Mandy Kennedy
Mandy Kennedy
The Queenstown Trail Trust says it backs national findings which show cycle trails boost economic activity and encourage more visitors to trail regions.

Chief executive Mandy Kennedy said it was great to hear such positive results from the New Zealand Cycle Trail (NZCT), which reported visitors to four of the country's trails, including Queenstown, were staying one to three nights and spending between $131 and $176 per person per day.

Overall, about one-quarter of businesses surveyed believed the trails had been good for their business, and about half believed it would be in the future.

A total of 98% of users said they were either ''very satisfied'' or ''satisfied'' with their cycle trail experience and 97% of trail users said they were likely to recommend the trail to others.

The evaluation report was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and showed although the trails were still new, they were making good progress in terms of job creation and contribution to the economy, NZCT chairman Richard Leggat said.

Interviews with trail managers, surveys of business owners and trail users, and four cycle trails were evaluated.

The case studies looked at a range of cycle trails, including remote trails and popular day-trip and urban destinations - the Mountains to Sea Trail in Manawatu, the Hauraki Trail in Waikato, the Motu Trail on the East Coast and the Queenstown Trail.

Mrs Kennedy said the Queenstown Trail attracted a wide variety of Wakatipu users - ''not just cyclists, from little ones learning to ride their bikes and the more mature cyclist, but also walkers and families.

''I was out there on Park St round to Kelvin Heights late on Friday afternoon and it was really interesting to see the number of tourists on both bikes and on foot, which is wonderful, because that was the plan.''