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Industry New Zealand To Sponsor Southern Traverse

Industry New Zealand, New Zealand's leading economic development agency, has announced today it will provide sponsorship of $121,000 for the New Zealand adventure race Southern Traverse.

"Funding the international Southern Traverse is part of the government's goal of having as many positive international events in New Zealand as possible. The Southern Traverse showcases our country and will attract tourists," says Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton.

"The Southern Traverse will be seen by millions of people around the world and will bring in tourists and generate additional income for New Zealand," said Jim Anderton.

The funding will contribute towards the cost of producing a documentary covering the race, which will take place in rugged terrain in the Queenstown area between 9-16 November this year.

“The race will promote adventure tourism to the fast growing numbers of people around the world looking for the kind of physical challenges New Zealand presents.

“Southern Traverse is a particularly important event because it will show New Zealand to international audiences through an international documentary, which will be shown locally free to air in New Zealand," said Jim Anderton.

As one of the major events on the world multi-sport calendar, the Southern Traverse will bring in over 600 competitors, support crews and news media into the Southern Lakes region for the five-day event.

The largest field ever will compete with 70 teams confirmed for the November race. International competitors make up over half those including representation from Australia, USA, Italy, France, Sweden, Hong Kong and Canada.

“The level of international participation in the Southern Traverse continues to grow dramatically each year, and with the documentary sponsorship from Industry New Zealand, we have a good opportunity to capitalise on this interest,” said Southern Traverse’s Pascale Lorre.

“As a company we have invested in New Zealand for the last 11 years. And we are proud that, because of our pioneering success over that time, New Zealand will always be considered the true home of adventure racing.”

“ We are now exporting our expertise internationally with the creation of a world championship event and a world adventure racing series. New Zealand as a whole will receive tremendous exposure and gain financial benefit.”

Assessments provided by Southern Traverse Ltd, the race organisers, show a strong commercial case for investing in the event. The direct economic benefit of holding the race is approximately $2.6 million a year, and will rise to $15 million a year by 2005.

Benefits will also accrue to the wide range of clothing and adventure gear manufacturers, such as Fairydown, Macpac, JKK Kayaks and Lane Walker Rudkin, which use the race as a platform from which to market their products.

“We’re supporting the Southern Traverse because it will deliver real economic benefits for New Zealand. Tourism is one of the nation’s “transforming industries’ - those industries that show real long-term economic prospects - and it should be promoted wherever possible to drive increased visitor numbers to New Zealand,” said Industry New Zealand chief executive Neil Mackay.

He believed that sponsoring the Southern Traverse complements the recent decision by the Government to also provide support for the Eco-Challenge, which will take place in October.

“The two events dovetail perfectly, providing New Zealand with an unparalleled opportunity to further stake its claim as the adventure tourism capital of the world - and in the northern hemisphere’s “off-season,’ in time for next year’s travel decisions to be made.”

The government’s assistance is made up of $71,000 in fees for TV documentary location and production management, and $50,000 towards the cost of generating broadcasting opportunities overseas. TV2 General Manager, Stephen Smith, has confirmed that the station will broadcast a documentary on the race.

ENDS

News Media Backgrounder

The 2001 Southern Traverse

New Zealand is the birthplace of adventure racing, and the Southern Traverse - New Zealand’s icon adventure race which was first held in 1991 - is a key feature on the international adventure racing calendar.

It is a 5-day non-stop adventure race, which is held annually in November in New Zealand.

In 2001 it will be based around Queenstown between 9-16 November. The 2000 event was held in Canterbury and was sponsored by the Discovery Channel and re-named the Discovery Channel adventure race, Southern Traverse partnership. Discovery Channel filmed a four-hour documentary, which was shown in over 150 countries worldwide.

This year, the event returns to its original name of the Southern Traverse. It is currently sponsored by Industry New Zealand, and is under sponsorship negotiation with several leading New Zealand companies.

The race

New Zealand is the home of adventure racing, having developed the concept in 1989 when hosting the first ever Raid Gauloises.

The Southern Traverse followed two years later in 1991, and has become a well-recognised annual event, attracting competitors from around the world. It is now firmly established on the international sporting calendar.

The home of the race is the Queenstown area, though in recent years new territory in Canterbury and Nelson Lakes National Park has been used.

Details of the 400km race are not revealed until the eve of the race. Disciplines include running, mountain biking, abseiling, kayaking and rafting, all in pursuit of traversing some of the most rugged terrain in the nation.

The benefits to New Zealand

The Southern Traverse also delivers significant economic benefits to New Zealand. It:

- showcases New Zealanders as world leaders in adventure racing (which is another way in which we pioneer excellence in performance and related products): as competitors, as organisers, and as providing excellent locations for the pursuit of the activity

- builds profile for New Zealand both through gaining television coverage of the event (and exposure for our scenic locations and adventure tourism options), in full length feature programmes on a wide variety of channels in countries around the world

- attracts entries from more than 20 countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, France, Finland, and the Netherlands. There are currently more than 300 adventure racing events in the USA, and more than 350 in Europe. This represents a very large adventure tourism market for New Zealand

- delivers $2.6 million per annum in direct economic benefit - which is forecast to rise to over $15 million per annum by 2005

- provides opportunities for New Zealand outdoor equipment and clothing companies to financially gain from the event through product development and promotion. Examples that have capitalised on the southern traverse include: Fairydown , Macpac, Lane Walker Rudkin, Icebreaker, Gurney Gears, Sisson Kayaks and JKK Kayaks.

Assistance provided by government

The assistance provided by the Government through Industry New Zealand has been structured to enable greatest possible leverage for the organisers and for the economy.

It focuses on maximising television coverage for the event, and therefore international exposure, and is structured as follows:

- $71,000.00 towards the cost of employing a location manager and a television producer/director to help the organisers to plan race logistics and generate television coverage

- $50,000.00 towards documentary production and marketing costs.

This funding support ensures that the Southern Traverse will be filmed for television. It will be shown free-to-air on TV2, and the organisers will also sell the production into a wide range of leisure, lifestyle, sport and travel channels.

Industry New Zealand’s support, as well as separate assistance which may be available from Tourism New Zealand, also ensures that the event will be financially viable for 2001 and that key international media will cover the event.

This year’s event has the added bonus of being one of seven qualifying races for the Discovery Channel World Championship Adventure Race. This new event, and the Southern Traverse’s participation in it, provides a consolidating alliance that is good for competitors, sponsors and race directors alike, and helps keep adventure racing in the public spotlight.


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