New Zealand lures world’s mountain bikers
Queenstown is luring increasingly large numbers of mountain bikers from around the world as they chase an endless summer. According to Mountain Scene, dozens of competitive and leisure riders from Europe, the US and Canada are escaping the snow in their home countries to set up temporary home in the resort.
Southstar Adventures’ Jeff Carter told the paper he was seeing more Australian visitors in the forest since transtasman flights started.
There were also a few American groups coming through.
Mountain biking is among the marketing strategies Rotorua Airport and the Central The paper says they are on the opposite leg from the ‘snow bums’ – boarders and skiers who follow the winter worldwide. Around half of Queenstown Mountain Bike Club’s 300 members are internationals
and many complete back-to-back seasons in the likes of Whistler, Canada, and then Queenstown.
Skyline’s decision to allow riders to use the gondola to access Queenstown Bike Park is seen as the catalyst of the influx. In related news, Queenstown Bike Park last week enjoyed two of its busiest days with 3000 runs down the tracks. The numbers at the park accessed via Skyline Enterprises’ gondola were swelled by competitors and spectators staying in town after the first round of the New Zealand Mountain
Bike Cup, which took place on the new grass downhill track at the Remarkables.
Meanwhile, the Rotorua Daily Post reports that the economic value of mountain biking in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest has been estimated at five times its annual timber revenue and looks set to increase as promotions raise awareness of what is on offer. A study by Crown Research Institute Scion shows the median annual recreational value of mountain bikers using the forest is $10.2 million - well above the $4.6 million earned through export revenues. Park group are using to promote Air New Zealand’s Rotorua-Sydney flights. Business development manager Rhys Arrowsmith told the Daily Post a DVD, produced with Ride Rotorua, Events & Venues and Destination Rotorua Marketing, was distributed through Mountain Biking Australia magazine last year, reaching a huge audience.
“There has been a really strong influx of Australian mountain bikers on the transtasman flights. They have found out about Rotorua from a variety of sources, but they have all seen the video.” He said there were plans to create a bike assembly area at the airport, allowing riders to
leave the box at the airport and ride straight to their accommodation or to the forest. Another DVD will be produced in March for the August edition of Mountain Biking Australia, primarily focusing on the new cycle trails in the wider Central Park area - including Rotorua’s Te Ara Ahi - Thermal by Bike, the Old Motu Coach Road in Gisborne/Opotiki and Taupo’s Lake Track Cycle Trail. Central Park is working closely with bike
companies and shops across the Tasman, with one brand keen to do product launches in Rotorua and shops looking at offering free Rotorua flights to entice customers.