Travel club folds its wings

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The Central Otago Travel Club has been grounded — permanently.

In its 51st year, the club has closed its books due to a lack of people willing to take on the various managerial roles.

The club had its final meeting earlier this month.

President Suzette Battrick and secretary Sue Symons said the decision to fold the club was not made lightly, due to its long history in the community.

However, a combination of factors meant it was no longer viable.

Mrs Symons said it was becoming difficult to get people to talk about their travel experiences and there had also been a drop in membership over the years.

Mrs Battrick said Covid-19 had also had a slight impact on the group.

‘‘Covid, as it is at the moment, people aren’t going to be travelling, so our speaker base is going to be even less.’’

The club has had a strong following over the years and used to feature a dinner dance once a year at the Baptist church.

‘‘You could open the room and they would fill it. They would come from Queenstown, Wanaka, Dunedin, Invercargill and Gore, including invited guests who would represent various other travel clubs,’’ Mrs Symons said.

The club also used to have a Christmas meeting, which would attract about 100 members.

Mrs Battrick said when the club first formed only ‘‘a few’’ people travelled, so for many members it was an opportunity to learn about places they had never visited.

She and Mrs Symons, who had had various roles within the club over the years, had been keen to pass their positions on and had spent the past 18 months looking for interested members to come forward.

‘‘We’re sad about it,’’ Mrs Battrick said.

The club had its final meeting on Wednesday.