Dan Roberts of Xebidy Social Web today launched a new marketing company called NZbyBike to the New Zealand Backpacking, Adventure and Youth Tourism Conference.
NZbyBike has been formed to aggregate the very large newly developing industry, bringing together owner-operated local businesses with the professional long-standing, larger touring companies and corporate organisations.
NZbyBike.com was introduced to delegates today as the platform for sending the message across the world that New Zealand is a great place for biking. NZbyBike provides extensive information on the newly developed “Great Rides”, classic rides such as the Queen Charlotte Track and the 42nd Traverse as well as many popular regional rides.
New Zealanders and international visitors are able to gather information on these rides as well as places to stay, eat and drink and activities along the way. Cycle tourists spend an average of 1.5 times more per day than any other people on holiday. International cycling visitors to New Zealand already number roughly the same as those that visit for golf.
Roberts said: “The cycle tourism sector is set to become extremely important for New Zealand tourism. NZbyBike is taking the New Zealand cycle tourism industry to the world through the website, an established travel agent and travel wholesaler programme including a GDS for agents to use for bookings and enquiries, attendances at key international trade shows and a trade manual.”
The Government-led Jobs Summit thrust the potential for cycle tourism in New Zealand into the spotlight in February 2009 when prime minister John Key enthused about the idea of a National Cycleway. The concept has since morphed into a series of Great Rides around New Zealand capitalising on existing infrastructure as well as many of the already popular mountain bikes trails.
The Government set aside NZ$50 million to develop the Great Rides but no money for marketing them, this being left to the communities and regions that host the rides or existing tourism and biking infrastructure and Tourism New Zealand.
Roberts said while many of these rides are now in development – some will have large sections rideable for the 2011 summer season – case studies in Australia and the UK show that a lack of a centralised marketing effort meant the cycle trails in these destinations fell short of their potential.