|Tourism is a growth industry in Central Otago. While the proximity of Queenstown ensures good visitor flows through the region, Central Otago’s tourism industry is evolving in a complementary way to Queenstown’s. Central Otago’s appeal increasingly centres on assets such as the Otago Central Rail Trail and opportunities for outdoor pursuits, such as fishing, orchard tours, curling, golf, mountain biking and kayaking. Central Otago wines have undoubtedly raised the district’s profile in a positive way and there is also growing interest in Central Otago’s gold mining history and heritage.
Central Otago is also an increasingly popular setting for multi-sport events including the famous three-day Goldrush event. Other annual events define the character of Central Otago tourism. These include, but are not limited to, the Alexandra Blossom Festival, the Ranfurly Rural Art Deco weekend and the Cavalcade event that involves overland treks on horseback over a variety of historic trails and routes.
Tourism Central Otago is the Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) for Central Otago. It is a unit of the District Development Department of Central Otago District Council and is ratepayer funded. A 10 Year Tourism Strategy was developed by a working party and focus groups representing key tourism industry stakeholders in 2007. Tourism Central Otago is guided by the priorities identified in the strategy. It works closely with Tourism New Zealand, local and national tourism organisations to co-ordinate and facilitates the marketing of Central Otago as a Visitor Destination.
In addition, each area has its own promotion group. These local promotion groups (Alexandra, Cromwell, Maniototo and Dunstan) are also an excellent source of information.
Recent growth has outstripped the national average and the indications are that it will remain a strong performer in the local economy.