Great Taste Trail generated more than $34m in 2023

The Great Taste Trail generated over $34m for the region in 2022-23, and locals comprise 89% of users, according to a recent report.

The Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust commissioned Angus and Associates to prepare a report that had a focus on the Great Taste Trail's (GTT) economic contribution, as well as its impact on wider regional cultural, social and environmental well-being.

The report found compelling evidence to demonstrate how important cycling and cycling-related infrastructure is for both residents and visitors to the Nelson Tasman region.

The Trail is a significant driver of economic activity. It is estimated that the direct spend by visitors coming to the region specifically to bike the GTT was over $34 million for the year ended June 2023.

Trust Chair, Gillian Wratt said the findings of the report are no surprise. “Biking in the top of south is booming. Our region’s breathtaking landscapes are a paradise for local cyclists and a magnet for tourists. Visitors come to Nelson for the variety of biking it offers and on average each person stays an average of 6.4 nights. They might start with the Great Taste Trail, but they may then go and try other trails, enjoy our stunning natural landscape, finish each ride with craft beer, coffee and dinner and enjoy our varied accommodation offerings.”

The GTT isn’t just a tourist attraction; it’s a community staple. A user survey showed that 89% of users are local. Total individual trail counts recorded on the Great Taste Trail for 2023 was 419,217 (including over 90,000 pedestrians), which is an increase of 24% on pre-covid levels.

Wratt says, “we always knew the number of local trail users was high and the intercept survey carried out at the end of last year showed not just how many locals were out enjoying trail, but how many people are repeat users – some people use it every day. The frequency of trail usage among locals underscores its integral role in the community, with many using it to commute.”

The survey found that 17% of local users had used the trail more than 200 times during the last 12 months. Much of this use was for commuting, which demonstrates the importance of the trail in helping to reduce road congestion. The trail has been positioned near schools where practical so that children can use it e.g. Ranzau, Riwaka, Wakefield, Brightwater, Tapawera and Tasman.

All trail users surveyed expressed very high satisfaction with their experience, highlighting the trail’s convenience, proximity to urban centres, and extensive network connections. There was widespread agreement that the GTT has a positive influence on the local community, particularly in enhancing the overall quality of life and making the region more vibrant and accessible to people of all abilities.

Wratt said the report confirmed the Great Taste Trail's importance to the local economy and community. “The GTT is not just a recreational asset but also a catalyst for community well-being and connectivity. The GTT is an especially valuable resource for our older citizens with more than three-quarters of local GTT users aged over 50 years. This is an important finding for our region where 22.5% of our residents are aged 65+.”

"The GTT’s success story is a testament to the region’s dedication to enhancing its natural assets, supporting local businesses, and promoting well-being through outdoor activities. We have had tremendous support from the community and are proud of how the GTT has encouraged volunteer input valued at more than $700,000 over the past 12 years. While this dollar amount is a fraction of that contributed by central and local government it is a clear demonstration of the value that the community places on the GTT."

The report highlights that the GTT has a key role in the long-term success of the region - not only economically but also culturally, socially and environmentally.

Full report available here.