A multi-day cycle tour extravaganza that Hawke's Bay Tourism hopes can rival the iconic Central Otago Rail Trail is coming to the region.
To pull it off, the Big Easy, one of Hawke's Bay's biggest one-day events, is gone but the things that made it special - its markets, wineries, food producers and artisan offerings - will be incorporated into the tour.
The tour will run year-round and will focus on supporting local businesses through the various cycle stops and the extended duration of the experience.
Hawke's Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said the tour's development alongside local operators has meant boosting the marketing efforts of the region's cycleways so they are seen as a 365-day destination, rather than a one-off pit-stop.
"We are dialling up our support of the Hawke's Bay Trails because we truly believe they can compete with the best in the country, such as the iconic Alps to Ocean and Otago Central Rail Trail.
"However, The Big Easy event doesn't do that for us. It has been a wonderful, well-loved event that has achieved what it set out to do and now it's time for something new," Saxton said.
The Big Easy's replacement will be further developed in the coming months, in conjunction with interested operators and stakeholders, with more specifics to come in the New Year.
Tākaro Trails co-owner Roger Coleman said he is excited to see more soft-core cyclists taking to the local limestone as a result of the multi-day tour.
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"Three or four years ago, it was really only hardcore cyclists who were interested in multi-day, cycling holidays. Now everyone is interested.
"We know from our own bookings and enquiries that the demand is already there. This gives us a chance to capture that low-hanging fruit," Coleman said.
The tour experience will be launched in May 2022 at Trenz, a national tourism showcase that attracts international travel buyers and media delegates.