Touring on a bicycle, is catching up fast globally, and is to be promoted by authorities in Europe in a big way.
According to a new study, cycling tourism is one of the sectors in tourism that holds great potential with respect to growth and development. With more people becoming environmentally conscious and with air and sea travel becoming costly, cycling tourism is taking its much deserved place in the tourism industry as an affordable, sustainable and cheap means of tourism. Countries that are promoting cycling tourism are already offering new attractions and activities with a view to lure more tourists to this mode of tourism.
According to a new study authored by Dr Richard Weston from the University of Central Lancashire, cycling tourism is one of the biggest growth sectors in tourism in Europe, worth €44bn per annum in Europe. Now that tourism officials have been exposed to the potential that cycling tourism holds, experts are converging at Nantes, France, as part of the ECF/EGWA Cycle Tourism Conference to discuss how they can grow this particular tourism sector.
The report by Dr Weston said that there were an estimated 2.295 billion cycle tourism trips in Europe annually. The author said that since it was not dependent on air travel, it was more sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. Weston would be speaking at the ECF/EGWA Cycle Tourism Conference.
In an interview, he said that cycling tourism could be expanded to those areas where traditional tourism could not be expanded due to a variety of reasons.
The conference is also to be attended by Dominique Lebrun, France’s national cycling coordinator, and Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling (US).
Lebrun said, ‘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 one cycling tourism destination.’
France, which has taken to cycling tourism in earnest, has already established a national bicycle plan, which looks to develop off-road cycle paths. The project would get a 50 per cent increase in state funding.
The ECF/EGWA Conference starts today in Nantes, and would look to unveil plans aimed at maximising the benefits of cycle tourism in regions, cities and countries.