The Rhone Cycle Route has become the first new route to join EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, since 2011. The long distance cycle route, which follows the course of the River Rhone through Switzerland and France, has now officially become EuroVelo 17 – Rhone Cycle Route. The decision was made by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), who coordinate the network on the European level, following a three year application process.
For over 1,100 kilometres, EuroVelo 17 follows the Rhone River from its source high up in the breath-taking Swiss Alps to its mouth on the French Mediterranean coast. On its way both the river and the route pass through major European cities, like Geneva and Lyon, as well as numerous attractive towns and villages.
The EuroVelo network gets even more extensive. Cycling Tourism will grow even further.
By joining the EuroVelo network, the transnational partnership behind the Rhone Cycle Route aims to position the route as one of the top cycling tourism destinations in Europe. The success of other cycle routes linked to water – for example, the Danube and Loire rivers (EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic–Black Sea) and the North Sea Cycle Route (EuroVelo 12) – demonstrate the growing appetite for this type of cycle tourism product. After joining the EuroVelo network in 2011, the Rhine Cycle Route (EuroVelo 15) has risen to become the second most popular overseas cycle route for German cycle tourists.
The inclusion of the Rhone Cycle Route in the EuroVelo network will raise awareness about the route amongst cycle tourists both in Europe and beyond. This in turn will lead to increased numbers of visitors to support the economies of the regions and towns along the route, creating jobs and new businesses opportunities, whilst at the same time promoting sustainable tourism and transport.
Cycling tourism already makes a significant contribution to the economy of both Switzerland and France with over €8.5 billion generated every year across the two countries. Europe is currently the world’s number one cycling tourism destination with an estimated €44 billion contribution to the European economy each year – a figure comparable to that generated by the European cruise ship industry.
The decision to approve the Rhone Cycle Route application to become part of the EuroVelo network was taken by the European Cyclists’ Federation’s Board on 21st November 2015. The application was submitted by the Auvergne – Rhone-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyréenées Regions, in close cooperation with other stakeholders in France, SwitzerlandMobility Foundation and the Swiss cantons (Uri, Valais, Vaud/Lake Geneva Region and Geneva). A new section focusing on the EuroVelo 17 – Rhone Cycle Route is now available on the EuroVelo website.
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