Cycle tourism specialist appointed to maximise Pureora Forest Timber Trail potential
The Ruapehu and Waitomo District Councils have appointed cycle tourism specialist Daniel Carruthers to head up marketing and communications for the Pureora Forest Timber Trail cycleway that spans both Districts.
The appointment of Mr. Carruthers is a key part of the plan to increase Timber Trail users from the current estimated 6,000 per summer season to 10,000 users by 2020.
Mr. Carruthers who has a Master of Tourism from Otago and has completed Tourism PHD studies at Zhejiang University recently returned from six years in China where he worked in a number of cycle tourism and business development roles with a focus on social media and digital marketing.
Joining two old logging tramways which showcase remnants of the great forests of Rimu, Totara, Miro, Matai and Kahikatea that once dominated the area along with eight spectacular suspension bridges the 85km Timber Trail has developed a reputation as one of the North Island’s best rides.
Both Ruapehu and Waitomo see the importance of a coordinated and cooperative approach to marketing and promotion of the Timber Trail in order to maximise the opportunities available for the benefit of the whole region.
Ruapehu Economic Development Manager Warren Furner said that maximising and unlocking these opportunities is the core objective of a three-year strategic marketing and action plan for the Timber Trail that Mr. Carruthers has been tasked with implementing.
“This includes the creation of consistent branding and messaging which can be used by all commercial operators and other stakeholders in promotion of the Timber Trail,” said Mr. Furner.
“Implementation of the action plan will see the development of a new digital platform and social media programs for promoting the Timber Trail, showcasing trade offerings and marketing of Timber Trail products and visitor services.”
“In addition to the core marketing and communication activities Mr. Carruthers has responsibility for continuing to build strong relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships between Timber Trail stakeholders.”
The importance of continuing to build the community of Timber Trail stakeholders was reinforced by Waitomo Economic Development Officer Rachael Laver.
“This will see Mr. Carruthers working closely with Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, Visit Ruapehu, tourism operators and a specially established Timber Trail Advisory Group comprising landowners on the trail, Iwi, DOC, Ruapehu and Waitomo District Councils that has been formed as part of ensuring that the long term management of the Timber Trail benefits everyone, whilst ensuring cultural and natural values are protected,” said Ms. Laver.
“Stretching from Pureora in Waitomo district through to Ongarue in Ruapehu the Timber Trail presents significant opportunities for further commercial and economic development for Taumarunui, Te Kuiti and surrounding area businesses.”
“The appointment of Mr. Carruthers marks an important step in our goal of unlocking these opportunities while working with tourism operators to raise and enhance the standard of the Timber Trail visitor experience.”