Tourism is resilient, and if you look at the past 20 years tourism in New Zealand has had an average annual growth rate of 4% per annum. That is despite SARs, Global Financial Crisis, Christchurch earthquakes and New Zealand’s recently increased terror threat. New Zealand remains a bucket list destination for many around the world and we expect that to continue well into the future. So while this will be another short term blip, the long term forecast remains positive for New Zealand and for Central Otago’s visitor economy.
We have much to look forward to and celebrate later in the year. The following are just some of the initiatives coming that will make Central Otago an even more compelling visitor destination as we move forward.
Planning is well underway for the fourth edition of Eat.Taste.Central. in Spring 2020. We intend to once again be bigger and bolder than the 2019 version. Mindfood has already committed to the 2020 event and we are working to secure additional major partners now. More details will be released in April, including the all-important theme.
Central Otago NZ Website Re-development
The redevelopment and upgrade of the www.centralotagonz.com website is nearing completion with an expected launch date in late April. This regional website aims to provide inspire and educate visitors, businesses and locals while reflecting upon and telling the stories of our 'A World of Difference' regional identity programme.
More details will be released soon on updates to the Central Otago Business directory, and how your businesses can make the most of this upgrade.
Central Otago Touring Route
The current target for the official opening of the Central Otago Touring Route is late Spring 2020. This will create interest in self-drive visitors experiencing the Maniototo while connecting the journey between Dunedin and Queenstown. It also makes a complementary loop to the popular Southern Scenic Route. Ultimately we see this as enabling visitors to experience more of this great region through telling those stories about what shaped where we live and our communities.
Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail
Later in 2020 the Lake Dunstan Trail will open, creating a connection from Cromwell to Clyde via Bannockburn. This trail promises to be stunning and a wonderful complement to the already outstanding trail experiences the Central Otago region offers. The TCO team is working with the trustees to ensure we best leverage the opportunity that opening a new trail will provide, especially into the domestic market.
During the next six months the Tourism Central Otago team will look at how we can bring operators together and provide opportunities for growing and developing your business so we can all bounce back quickly for the coming summer season.