Bicycle Tourism: What is it and why it matters.
More visitors, staying longer, spending more
At over $100 billion per year, the bicycle tourism industry is transforming the economic health of communities across the globe.
The bicycle tourism industry already turns over four times the sale of bicycles and accessories every year. It is transforming communities worldwide – more visitors, staying longer and spending more.
This Guide to Bicycle Tourism Success has been written to help communities and destination marketing organizations understand …
• how you can get more visitors, staying longer and spending more;
• what you need to do to develop your local industry; and
• what you need to do to build brands as powerful as Trek, Specialized and Giant.
For bicycle companies that want to sell more bikes the solution is clear: Focus your investment on helping communities broaden the appeal of bicycling. Working with destination marketing organizations will help you to establish and expand cycling opportunities for a broader range of segments – including the 100 million millennials in the US that will be looking for unique holiday experiences by 2022.
Could cycling be your next tourism asset?
At this very moment, a group of grey-haired road cyclists is enjoying a hard-earned break in a back-alley café in a city that isn’t their own. Two university graduates at the opposite table are researching holiday destinations that combine their love of cycling, food and the great outdoors. Across the street, an accountant on his lunch break books three nights’ accommodation in an obscure town so he can explore nearby mountain bike trails he read about on Google.
This is bicycle tourism in action. And it’s transforming countless cities and towns across the world – one adventure- seeking tourist at a time.
At CycleLifeHQ, we believe that many communities have what it takes to build a thriving, sustainable bicycle tourism industry that provides powerful social, economic and environmental benefits.
Read on to see if your community might be one of them, and why we think it’s worth the effort…
Bicycle tourism: a primer
Momentum Magazine defines bicycle tourism as:
“Any travel-related activity, for the purpose of pleasure, which incorporates a bicycle.”
It’s a broad definition – and purposefully so. Bicycle tourism covers everything from self-guided rides and bike-friendly cafes to bike rentals and organized rides. It caters to road cyclists, mountain bike riders, sightseeing enthusiasts on cruiser bikes and professional athletes. What’s different about bicycle tourism is that it goes beyond focusing on the economic value of bicycle riding alone. Instead, it views cycling as a tourism asset. There’s more to bicycle tourism than building bike paths and stocking tourist information centres with maps of cycling routes.
By positioning cycling in this way, bicycle tourism encourages local agencies and organizations to ask questions like:
- Does our city’s cycling infrastructure support tourists?
- Which trails can we market to interstate visitors?
- How can we make our town a go-to destination for cycling enthusiasts?
Tapping into a US$100 billion global market
Bicycle tourists don’t always look like typical tourists. Bicycle tourists can be difficult to distinguish from local cyclists. But their impact on the economy is real – and growing.
- The global bicycle tourism industry is worth around US$100 billion
- Mobile searches for cycling and biking destinations increased by over 40 percent in 2017.
- The world’s top bicycle tourism destinations generate millions of dollars annually
- Touring cyclists stay three days longer and spend US$240 more per trip than the average tourist.
It’s fair to assume most cities and towns would like a slice of that pie.
Think your destination is too small to benefit from bicycle tourism?
A town in the United States with just 740 people generates more than US$25 million from bicycle tourism annually.
Bicycle tourists are ideal tourists! Cyclists are the kind of tourist you want to attract. They’re educated, affluent and looking for a meaningful travel experience.
According to America’s Adventure Cycling Association:
- 82% of bicycle tourists have a university education
- More than half make over US$75,000 per year
- 8% are international tourists
“Bicycle travellers tend to be geo-tourists – interested in experiencing the distinctive characteristics of a place, including its culture, landscape, history, and the well-being of its residents… They tend to prefer to spend locally, make meaningful connections with locals, and explore off the beaten path.” – Adventure Cycling Association
Bicycle Tourism in Action
When it comes to building a successful bicycle tourism practice, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. A sprawling capital city will likely have different ideas about bicycle tourism than a wine-producing region, or a destination that attracts younger thrill-seekers. Click here to read the full article, including a closer look at destinations that have built world-famous bicycle tourism practices; and advice and tools to help get you started to emulate what they’ve already done and are continuing to do’