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Central Otago locals’ weekend focuses on tourism giving back

Residents across Otago and Southland are invited to experience the best of Central Otago this weekend (September 21-22) with "mates’ rates" deals.

The third Locals’ Weekend, organised by the Central Otago i-SITE and Tourism Central Otago teams, coincides this year with Conservation Week.

To tie in with the Department of Conservation celebrating the 50th anniversary of Conservation Week, Central Otago i-SITEs have incorporated conservation activity into the mix for the Locals Weekend.

Tourism Central Otago general manager Dylan Rushbrook says he was immensely proud of what the teams had pulled together.

"They have flipped the traditional on its head and created an opportunity to give back to this stunning natural environment we call home. After all, it is that environment which draws visitors to our region."

Between 9am-12pm on Saturday, September 21, "locals" are invited to join the i-SITE and TCO teams to tidy up the trails along the Clutha Mata-Au and Manuherikia Rivers.

"We invite our operators and our local community to show their pride in the fantastic walking and cycling trails we have in the Alexandra Basin. Let’s get out there for a morning to enjoy these trails with friends and family, while stopping to collect any litter we spot along the way."

The second opportunity being promoted to "give back" is donating toward either the Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group or the Central Otago Ecological Trust.

Ten other activities are on offer at special mates’ rates of 30-100 per cent off, including wine tasting and scenic flights, heritage and nature tours, cycling, mini-golf, jet boat rides and go-karting.

The weekend was created to encourage Central Otago residents and their Otago and Southland "neighbours" to try activities on their back doorstep.

"Locals then become wonderful ambassadors for these great experiences and promote them to friends and family," says Dylan.

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