ECF member and EuroVelo national coordinator FIAB worked together with the University of Insubria to carry out the first national survey on Italian cycle tourists, collecting the answers of a sample of 940 people. With this step, Italy joins the growing number of European countries producing surveys and analysis on cycling tourism at national level, like for example the ADFC’s Bicycle Travel Analysis in Germany.
Italian cycle tourists opt for relatively long stays with considerable spending both at home and abroad
On the basis of this sample, Italian destinations are slightly more popular than foreign ones with Italian cycle tourists. 57% of the cycling tourism trips reported by the respondents took place in Italy and 43% abroad, especially in countries with developed cycling tourism infrastructure such as Austria, Germany and France. In Italy, the most popular destinations for cycle tourists are the North-East (38%) with Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige leading the way, followed by the North-West (27%) and the Centre (20%), especially Tuscany. The results also highlight other aspects of cycling tourism in Italy. Cycling holidays are experienced as relaxed, mainly for couples (28%) or with friends (23%); the daily stages, for 70% of respondents, are between 50 and 70 kilometres and the average length of the holiday is 5 nights, preferring bed & breakfast in Italy (48%) and hotels abroad (39.4%). The average daily spending, including accommodation is € 65.
Traffic safety, information on the routes, and intermodality are important for the further development of cycle tourism
Survey participants were also asked which aspects would favour the development of cycle tourism. The aspects which were given the most importance were traffic reduction on route sections that are shared with motorised traffic, adequate signage along the route, and availability of information about the itineraries.
One of the most interesting aspects of the survey is the intermodality of bike and train. 32% of respondents use the train in combination with the bike during their holidays, making this mode the most used one for reaching cycling holiday destinations both in Italy and abroad.
"The combination of train and bike proves once again to be a fundamental element for the growth of cycling tourism in our country and confirms the virtuous and winning choices made by some territories, such as the North East, where investments in cycling infrastructure have been accompanied by initiatives and intermodality services for bicycle travellers", commented Antonio Dalla Venezia, regional coordinator of FIAB Veneto and president of the technical-scientific committee of Bicitalia, the network of Italian cycle routes.
Such a figure should be of interest to train companies, and proves that the recent decision of the European Parliament and the Council that all new and refurbished trains in the EU have to offer dedicated spaces for four bicycles, taken after intensive advocacy action of ECF, will also be hugely beneficial for cycle tourists all around Europe.
The presentation of the National Survey on Cycling is available online (in Italian).
Author: Holger Haubold