Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Zealand Cycleway Update

A lot of people seem to be following the possible creation of a New Zealand cycleway, so I thought an update might be in order.

First, it seems that I was correct in thinking that $50 million to build the thing seemed like an awfully low estimate. A more educated estimate from a company currently paving a shorter cycling route was that a completely paved option that ran the entire length of the country would cost at least $300 million.

Various options are now being discussed, including a network of shorter cycling routes throughout the country instead of one big one, and routes that are not paved all of the way. (ie they may be dirt or gravel.)

Still, it seems like there may be some merit in attracting more cyclists to New Zealand. A recent article in the New Zealand Herald quoted some figures from the Ministry of Tourism:

"For the year to last September 45,000 of the 2,469,064 international visitors to New Zealand took part in a cycling sport.

The cycling tourists spent $199 million on their trips - excluding international airfares - an average of $4386 each. The average spending of all international tourists is $2692.

Cycling tourists on average stayed in New Zealand for 49.2 nights, more than twice the average length of stay of 20.9 nights.

Britons make up the biggest number of cyclists at 19 per cent, followed by Australians at 17 per cent and Americans at 9 per cent."

So cyclists are a small percentage of New Zealand's tourists, but they are good value tourists because of their long stays in the country. Having longer touring routes available can only help to keep them here even longer, so it does seem like a good investment. Maybe not worth $300 million though. That's a pretty tough call.

More as the story unfolds...

1 comment:

Wayne said...

I love NZ.

A well planned cycle route would be fantastic for NZ. 300 million is a lot of wonga in the current climate so whoever is making the case will need to be good a maths a very persuasive.