Otago trails collaboration makes finals for New Zealand tourism award
The Otago Trails Marketing Group has earned a finalists’ spot in the annual Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) awards.
The group is up for a TIA Industry Collaboration Award, which recognises a group of businesses or organisations that have aligned or partnered to successfully maximise their tourism industry impact and results.
Otago trails marketing encompasses the Regional Tourism Organisations of Central Otago, Dunedin, Queenstown and Clutha, an operator’s group, and five of New Zealand’s Ngā Haerenga Great Rides. These include the Otago Central Rail Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail, Clutha Gold Trail, Lake Dunstan Trail and Queenstown Trails.
The group employs a Trails Marketing Executive, Geoff Marks, who is part of the Tourism Central Otago team at the Central Otago District Council. By joining forces, the group could market its rides more successfully, he said.
“Our focus is to be entirely collaborative in the marketing and promotion of the Otago cycle trail network, leveraging economies of scale and avoiding duplication.
“Increasingly, activity has evolved to support destination management, trail safety campaigns, product development and enhancing operator capability.”
Shayne O’Connor, Trails Manager for the Lake Dunstan Trail, Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Trail, believes that the New Zealand Tourism Awards nomination is affirmation that the project has been a resounding success, showing the value of true collaboration.
“The collaborative approach has been an incredible success, not only in driving demand for our cycle trails from visitors, but also in seeing operators and trails supporting one another. In previous years they may have seen each other as competition, but now everyone is understanding that by working together and sharing knowledge the entire region wins by visitors having an exceptional experience and returning to take on a different trail.”
The latest member to join the group, Destination Queenstown, is also seeing benefits, its Marketing and Communications Director Sarah O’Donnell said.
“We were delighted to be invited to collaborate as the objectives of the group strongly aligned with our regenerative tourism focus, and biking represents a low impact/slow travel activity that supports our region’s decarbonisation goal.
“With new trail developments in progress e.g., Kawarau Gorge Trail, we look forward to further opportunities for biking and connecting Queenstown to its neighbours.”
The trails marketing project is seen by the group as a step towards achieving transformative change in the approach to collaborative marketing. By uniting stakeholders, promoting sustainable practices, enhancing visitor experiences, empowering local communities, and delivering measurable economic impact, it is setting a benchmark for tourism collaboration.
The winners will be announced at an awards dinner in Wellington on 7 November 2023.
Image Supplied: Cyclists on the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, credit Geoff Marks.
Geoff invites you to check out this Trails highlight video