The Hawke's Bay Cycle Trail was the most popular of New Zealand's Great Rides last year especially among visitors to our region.
There were 188,037 cycle trips and 219,737 pedestrian trips on the Hawke's Bay Trail between 1 March 2019 and 28 February 2020, according to trail counter data from all 22 New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Rides.
Queenstown was the second-most popular trail with 131,037 cycle trips and 239,935 pedestrian trips.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails surveys shows of those who used the Hawke's Bay trail, 60 per cent were local and 40 per cent visitors.
Tourism Minister and Napier MP Stuart Nash said he's not surprised the Hawke's Bay Cycle Trail was busiest of all.
"I know how popular it is from my own local cycling," he said.
"Research shows that pre-Covid, more domestic visitors to Hawke's Bay used the region's cycle trails than international tourists, contributing an estimated $10 million-plus to the local economy. That's an important advantage for Hawke's Bay as border restrictions to keep us safe from the pandemic have seriously impacted visitor numbers."
The counter data indicates the Marine Parade section of the Hawke's Bay Cycle Trail is the most popular.
"Hawke's Bay has plenty of other great trails, including the Tukituki Trail, which will nearly double in length thanks to the recently announced $750,000 investment," Nash said.
He said there were nearly 700,000 more trips nationwide last year compared to the same period in 2015.
"Cycling and walking these trails is a great way to explore unique scenery and enjoy the best of local culture, architecture, food and wine," he said.
"Cycle trails are growing in popularity with travellers who want to combine health and fitness activities with leisure and holidays.
"Cycleways and walkways are increasingly helping small regional communities to diversify their local economy. They support more tourism, accommodation and hospitality jobs. I encourage travellers to explore one this summer and support local businesses."