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Cycle Tourism Worth Millions to Scottish Economy

Cycling on Lismore. Credit: Sustrans

Cycling on Lismore. Credit: Sustrans

Scotland should be branded as a must visit destination for cycle tourism, according to a new report by a leading transport campaign group, Transform Scotland.

According to the report the total value of cycle tourism – by residents and visitors, touring and leisure cycling – in Scotland is up to £239m per year.

This figure is significantly higher than previous research suggests and Transform Scotland says there is massive scope for growth to make leisure cycling one of Scotland’s top tourism activities.

In the report, published in partnership with Sustrans Scotland, Transform sets out recommendations for unlocking the economic potential of leisure cycling, including promoting leisure cycling to a wider range of groups and supporting marketing of routes particularly in rural areas of Scotland.

The report has been welcome by the Cycle Tourism Forum, a partnership of organisations involved in developing cycle tourism in Scotland.

Transform Scotland director Colin Howden said:

“Our report demonstrates the value of cycle tourism to the Scottish economy. From family day-trips to one-day cycle events to long-distance tours, it’s clear that leisure cycling makes a significant economic contribution. While Scotland has built up a reputation for mountain biking, much more could be done to brand Scotland as a ‘must-visit’ destination for cycle tourists and leisure trips.

“There is substantial room for growth in touring and leisure cycling and with appropriate promotion could make an even greater contribution to Scotland’s economy. Our report sets out a strategic direction for both public sector bodies and the private sector in taking forward the expansion of the sector so that it can play its full role in Scotland’s tourism strategy.”

Scottish Government Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“Transform Scotland’s report highlights how important cycling is to our tourism economy. Our natural environment is the number one reason why people visit Scotland and the Scottish Government is committed to making it as accessible as possible, which is why we are investing £3 million over this year and next in the Oban to Inverness cycle route.

“A successful, buoyant visitor economy — employing local people, using local suppliers and supporting local economies — contributes to a more successful Scotland.

“Outdoor pursuits, such as cycling, play an important part in this and this year as we celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland there is no better time to appreciate the beautiful landscape on our doorstep.”

John Lauder, Director of Sustrans Scotland said:

“Scotland can become a top cycling country with leisure and touring cycling a must-do activity for residents and visitors alike. It has the potential to generate substantial economic benefits, particularly in rural areas, for a very small expenditure by councils, government and agencies.

“We are sitting on an untapped potential that, with minimal investment, we could quickly realise. As business opportunities go, this is a no-brainer. However, more needs to be done to promote leisure and touring cycling to a broader range of people, making it more attractive to beginners, women and young people. To realise this great potential there needs to be greater development and marketing of themed cycle routes, including greater visibility for the National Cycle Network and the EuroVelo routes when Scotland markets and promotes itself.”

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