Cycling tourism is one of the biggest growth sectors in tourism. A new study says it’s worth €44 billion per annum to Europe. Experts are getting ready to discuss how they can make this sector even bigger at a conference this week in Nantes.
According to the new study which was released during EU mobility week, there are an estimated 2.295 billion cycle tourism trips in Europe with a value in excess of €44 billion per annum. The same study also says that ECF’s EuroVelo network will generate €7 billion of direct revenue when completed.
“This study shows that cycle tourism is more sustainable environmentally, socially and economically; being less reliant on air travel,” says its author, Dr. Richard Weston from the University of Central Lancashire.
Weston will be speaking at the upcoming ECF/EGWA Cycle Tourism Conference and believes that bicycle tourism is a huge boost for local economies.
“Cycle tourism disperses visitors to areas that traditionally do not attract tourism and supports employment in local economies,” he explains.
Professor Weston will be but one of many experts talking at the upcoming conference. Some of the big names include Dominique Lebrun, a.k.a France’s National Cycling Coordinator and Jim Sayer, Executive Director of Adventure Cycling (US).
“France has seen an important growth in cycling tourism in the past few years, so I’m really happy to see a conference like this take place in Nantes. France wants to become Europe’s Number 1 cycling tourism destination,” explains Lebrun.
France’s national bicycle plan, which was published earlier this year looks to develop off road bicycle paths (known as greenways) with a 50% increase in state funding and wants to make the country a cycling tourism mecca.
Other hot topics to be discussed include how to gain access to European funding to build infrastructure and ways to better promote cycling tourism.
“For those wanting to hear from the experts about the latest cycling tourism developments across Europe, this is the place to be,” Le Brun adds.
The ECF/EGWA Conference is taking place in Nantes, France on September 26, 2012 and will be discussing ways to maximise the benefits of cycle tourism in regions, cities and countries. More information can be found here.
You can download a copy of recent study here.
Ed Lancaster is ECF Policy Officer for Regional Policy & Cycling Tourism. For the past 7 years, Ed has worked as a Town Planner for various local authorities in South East England and he has a Master’s degree in Town Planning from the University of Westminster. In his last role he was responsible for transport policies and strategy, as well as managing numerous cycling-related projects.