Monday, May 27, 2024
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RTOs team up for Otago cycle trail

Three Regional Tourism Organisations jointly secured funding to establish a Trails Marketing Executive role for the three regions, with Fiona Love starting in the role this month.

The role has been established with the support of Enterprise Dunedin, Clutha Development and Tourism Central Otago alongside four cycle trail trusts and a local trail operators’ group.

This collaborative marketing group aims to promote and enhance Central Otago and the wider Otago region as a premier trails destination.

Fiona is working from the Tourism Central Otago office where she will oversee the coordination of messaging and trail related promotions. The goal being to grow visitation where there is availability, extend off-peak travel and length of stay.

Prior to joining the team Fiona held tourism marketing roles in the UK and most recently New Zealand with Haka Tours. As an active adventurer she can often be found out on local trails running or cycling. Fiona is looking forward to working with partners to create cohesive marketing activities for the benefit of the whole network.

Tourism Central Otago general manager Dylan Rushbrook says the team was excited to have Fiona come on board "at a time when there is a real need to adapt to opportunities and challenges the current visitor environment presents us".

"We know that when our trails are successful at attracting visitation, which drives economic benefit to communities throughout the regions. It means that our accommodation, hospitality and cultural sectors all benefit, which in turn means that our local communities retain their workforce, and services. And let’s not underestimate the well-being benefits to our communities in having access to a choice of sustainable trails, and pride that comes from hearing what visitors have to say.

"A major strength of the Otago area as a trails and cycling destination is the diversity and range of options available; from New Zealand’s Original Great Ride the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Clutha Gold Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail, through to backcountry trails, downhill tracks and short walks. In early 2021 the new Lake Dunstan Trail between Cromwell and Clyde is set to open meaning there is literally something for everyone at every level," says Dylan.

"It was clear that there were competing demands for funding and differing levels of capability for trails and businesses to undertake targeted marketing activities," said Mark Button from the Otago Central Rail Trail Operators’ Group. "As a group we could see that a collaborative approach was the best and most effective way of managing the collective needs across the different interest groups and partners."

"The Otago Central Rail Trail has been a key gateway for visitors coming to and from Dunedin into Central Otago for over 20 years, and the communities of Hyde and Middlemarch are key parts of the trail experience. How we continue to showcase the connection between Central Otago and Dunedin is really important and complements Dunedin’s mountain biking and other trails," says Malcolm Anderson, city manager, Enterprise Dunedin.

A memorandum of understanding between the partners has been signed and a trails’ governance group is established with representation from RTOs, trails trusts and operators’ groups. It is this group Fiona will report to. The governance group will review the success of the role and look for ways to continue to fund a position into the future and consider options to extend the partnerships if appropriate.

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