The $2 million to extend the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail from Turoa to Ohakune announced by Government last week has given the Ruapehu visitor industry a massive boost.

Ruapehu District Mayor Don Cameron said council now had high hopes for the Ruapehu visitor industry.

"We believe that investing in our district's sustainable development and growth will provide concrete benefits to all areas of Ruapehu's economy."

The extension was announced earlier this month by Prime Minister John Key. It will be subject to consultation and the support of the local community, which will need to stump up with money as well.


Mr Cameron said on top of the $2 million from central government, there is also an extra $100,000 for the preparation of a "destination, marketing and value proposition" for the region.

"This will extend all the market assessment work already done by Visit Ruapehu," he said.

"Really this is investment is a clear vote of confidence in RDC and our ratepayers".

Mr Cameron said Ruapehu was a leader in regional tourism opportunities.

"The government's Accelerate25 Manawatu-Whanganui Economic Action Plan is such great news for the district."

There are also eight other specific areas directly relevant to Ruapehu including manuka honey, land use, and fresh vegetables, he said.

"This is just the beginning."

"We're looking at a feasibility study to develop a multi-use recreational park in the Tongariro Forest behind Owhango, a feasibility study on developing and promoting SH4 as the Adventure Highway, Taumarunui River Walkway project with longer term plans to extend and upgrade into a cycleway, implementing free broadband in along the main street of Taumarunui, Ohakune and Raetihi and township revitalisation projects", Mr Cameron said.

The proposed new trail will be partially funded through the National Cycleway Fund.

"The proposed new trail will be up to 20km long and link with the existing Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail - one of New Zealand's Great Rides," said Mr Key.

"The alpine setting will make it a truly unique mountain biking experience and an exciting drawcard for tourists. Research shows it could boost the local economy by as much as $5.8 million in five years."

Mr Key said the total cost of the extension is likely to be between $4-5 million therefore the local community will also need to contribute to the cost.

"Given the extension will occur in a National Park a National Park Management Plan Change is needed. This will require public consultation and community support. DoC will lead that process on behalf of the New Zealand Conservation Authority," he said.