Just days after we reviewed a great cycling route in France from Paris to Mont-St-Michel, recognition was given to cycling routes in France in the augural EuroVelo Cycle Tourism Awards.
Ádám Bodor, EuroVelo and Advocacy Director, European Cyclists´ Federation was pleased to say “We have introduced the EuroVelo Cycle Tourism Awards to highlight the excellent work that is being done around Europe in the field of cycle tourism. The two award winners – France and EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route – are setting the standard for developing successful cycle tourism products on the European level and we hope that other countries and routes will follow their lead.”
Representatives from France and EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route received the awards from Michael Cramer, Member of the European Parliament and ‘father’ of the EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail.
Cycle tourism is becoming an increasingly significant sector of the tourism industry. As we reported back in 2016, cycle tourism contributes over €44 billion to the European economy annually in addition to the environmental, health and transportation benefits.
More than 8000km of Cycling Routes in France
As one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, France has also been able to position itself as a cycle tourism leader over the past few years. Eight EuroVelo Routes cross the country with more than 8,000 km of cycling routes in France alone.
Cultural itineraries, coasts, rivers, castles, vineyards… France is a destination that has a stunningly varied heritage scattered across so many beautiful regions.
Home to La Loire à Vélo (EuroVelo 6), La Vélodyssée (EuroVelo 1) as well as part of the Rhine Cycle Route (EuroVelo 15), the EuroVelo routes form a backbone to an ever increasing network of national cycling routes in France coordinated by their National EuroVelo Coordination Centre, the Départements & Régions Cyclables. It is therefore not surprising that in 2017, France was the most visited country on the Eurovelo website and also gathered most of the votes from the cycling community in a recent survey of the most popular cycle tourism countries in Europe.
A Near Trebling of Cycling Routes in France!
Camille Thomé, Director, Départements & Régions Cyclables (DRC) was delighted with the award, saying “France Vélo Tourisme and the Départements & Régions Cyclables, the EuroVelo National Coordination Centre for France, would like to recognise the work undertaken by the local and regional authorities across the country. Their work has enabled France to rank among the top destinations for cycle tourism in Europe and this EuroVelo Award rewards their commitment and their common ambition: to realize all 22,870 km of the national cycle network by 2030.”
In less than ten years, the EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route has risen to become a flagship cycle destination in Europe. Originally the focus of a three-year project co-financed by the EU, the Rhine Cycle Route now attracts visitors from all over the world. On the Eurovelo website it attracted more than 17% of all visitors during 2017. It was also the third most popular long-distance cycle route in Germany, according to a poll by our German National EuroVelo Coordinator ADFC. The Rhine Cycle Route’s popularity continues to grow every year.
Sebastian Kaiser, Head of Product Management, Marketing and Sales Cooperations, Tourismus NRW e.V. commented ”EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route is an example on how transnational cooperation can position a long distance cycle route as a leading European tourism attraction.“