When there’s an advert on the TV or radio for cruises – often with “free” on board spending money, as if it’s not included in the price! – you’d be correct in thinking that this is a pretty big industry and you’d be forgiven for thinking it is much larger than bike tourism, because that part is wrong.
Bike tourism is now creating more turnover than cruise tourism in Europe
According to numbers presented a few days ago in Taipei at the 2016 Velo-City by Adam Bodor, Director for Advocacy and Eurovelo at the European Cyclists’ Federation, bike tourism is now creating more turnover than cruise tourism in Europe, and at the same time helping SMEs, creating local employment and tax incomes, and reducing CO2 emissions. Among the factors for this success, he cited good connectivity to public transport, attractive routes with a coherent signalisation system – including the European EuroVelo routes – a comprehensive offer of services along the route, as well as good promotion and marketing tools.
The sub-plenary session was entitled “Different Ways to Travel for Different Travellers: the Evolution of Tourism” with a subtitle of “Investing in Different Ways to Travel.”
What do we need to do to make the tourism sector and the bodies responsible for promoting tourism not only aware of the significance and potential of bike tourism, but to actually do something to see the hotels, guest houses and camp sites, cafés, pubs and restaurants, as well as bike shops and tourist attractions let cyclists know of their existence.
I regularly cycle (small!) sections of a EuroVelo route, a couple of Sustrans national routes, and several local ones, and I can’t think of a single cycling-related advert or sponsored route sign on the way on any of them.
In Taipei details of three Asian projects were also presented and they all fulfilled the criteria mentioned by Adam Bodor. For example, the cycle tourism strategy of Bibai City on the Japanese island of Hokkaido (presented by Mayor Mikio Takahashi), has created unique sightseeing routes covering wide areas around the city. On the Taiwan cycling route, presented by Chih-Ku Fan, Administrative Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of Taiwan, cyclists can enjoy refreshments and bike services at 122 supply stations and they can take their bikes on and off trains at 11 connecting stations. Finally, the Lake Hanza Cycling network presented by Satoru Hoshino, Deputy Mayor of Hamamatsu City is located in a beautiful hot springs area, allows for cycling all year round and is connected to boat transport on the lake.
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