Prime Minister John Key, who is also Minister of Tourism, has announced a further $935,000 will be invested to help complete the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.
“Once finished, the 310km trail will be a major tourism asset for the Waitaki and Mackenzie Districts, helping attract both local and international visitors to the area,” Mr Key says.
“There is strong support from local tourism operators, and a growing number of international tourists are already using the trail, with an estimated 25 per cent more users in January 2015, compared with the same period last year.
The Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail is one of 23 Great Rides that make up Nga Haerenga – the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
“The Great Rides have proven to be a significant driver of local and international tourism which is helping New Zealand stay on the international map as a top tourist destination,” Mr Key says.
“The trails are also boosting economic growth in the regions with reports from individual trails indicating that more than 1,200 jobs have been created.
“Figures also indicate at least 60 new businesses have been established as a result of the Great Rides being built, and over 40 businesses have expanded their operations to cope with the new demand from cyclists.
“The funding announced today will help build on that success, creating more opportunities for the region and New Zealand as a whole,” Mr Key says.
This additional funding, made available through the National Cycleway Fund announced in Budget 2015, will bring the total Government contribution to the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail to $3,705,000, and to almost $55 million to construct the trails nationally.
The local community has raised $955,000 of co-funding to contribute to the completion costs.
The 41 km section to be completed will connect Sailors Cutting on the shores of Lake Benmore with Duntroon, meaning users will no longer have to cycle on State Highway 83.
This is great news for the Mackenzie and Waitaki Districts, and the many thousands of people who will use the cycle way.
Cycling on the road is neither safe nor enjoyable.
The cycle way is already providing a financial boost for the districts even though it has yet to be completed.
Neighbours offer homestays in their historic homestead and enjoyed heavy bookings last summer from people using the cycle trail.
Other existing businesses on the route report similar increases in patrons and new businesses have been established to service and supply cyclists.
The A2O cycleway starts near Mount Cook and finishes in Oamaru which Lonely Planet dubbed New Zealand’s coolest town.