Linking tourism products to enhance cycle tourism: the case of the Taieri Gorge Railway and the Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand
Reis, AC, Lovelock, B & Jellum, C 2014, 'Linking tourism products to enhance cycle tourism: the case of the Taieri Gorge Railway and the Otago Central Rail Trail, New Zealand', Tourism Review International, vol. 18, no. 1-2, pp. 57-69.
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This study, undertaken in rural New Zealand, discusses issues involved in enhancing linkages between an existing rail tourism product and a cycle tourism product. The article assesses demand for such a development and gauges current and potential future connectivity between the two products. The article draws on a survey of train passengers and rail trail visitors, along with interviews undertaken with key tourism and community stakeholders in relation to the rail trail. The data highlight problems around product development and integration. While participants agree that an enhanced link between the railway and the rail trail will be of benefit for all those involved with tourism in the region, stakeholders who currently benefit from the current (unenhanced) links between the two tourism products are hesitant about improved connectivity because of concerns centered around community growth management. Conversely, other stakeholders support enhanced rail/trail connections, lending weight to social exchange premises which infer that attitudes towards a particular issue are influenced by evaluations of the real and expected outcomes for individuals or their communities. The article highlights the complexities around the multistakeholder nature of managing such linear routes, especially in rural communities where the benefits and drawbacks of tourism developments are strongly felt.