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How to make more people go on cycling holidays more often?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023
One of the goals behind EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, is to create the conditions for more people to cycle more often in their holidays. Consequently, they will cycle more in their everyday life. But what is the magic trick to make this happen? We have checked how different countries communicate cycling tourism across Europe and discovered very innovative practices! Read on to find out more.

The European cycle route network is being developed thanks to the thorough work of the National EuroVelo Coordination Centres, which are present in 23 countries. To foster a strong collaboration within the network, the EuroVelo Management Team organises exclusive online workshops to facilitate the exchange of best practices among its members. 14 December was the occasion to dive into the promotion of cycling tourism. We counted on experts from Italy, Denmark, Greece and Germany to share best practices and insights about promoting more cycling tourism in their national contexts. Thanks to the Workshop, we discovered inspiring destinations, communication strategies, and cycle routes worth mentioning!

Successful promotional campaigns of two Italian cycle routes

Ciclovia del Sole is the name of the 50 km Italian section of the EuroVelo 7 - Sun Route from Mirandola to Bologna. The cycle route was constructed on the embankment of the old Bologna-Verona railway, scattered with small, old and abandoned stations. This section exemplifies the potential of the adequation of recreational cycle paths to support the promotion of everyday cycling in periurban areas. Cyclists’ pictures with the Sun logo behind them on social media show the successful outreach of the visual identity of the Ciclovia del Sole, which is crisscrossed by 9 alternative gravel bike routes amplifying the offer. A participatory process involving the users, local governments and local organisations was important to encourage a strong collaboration across a diversity of stakeholders to develop and promote the cycle route. This achievement was presented by Alessandra Tormene, project manager, member of FIAB and spokesperson of the Italian National EuroVelo Coordinator.

CicloVia del Sole
CicloVia del Sole

Ciclovia dei Parchi Calabria, an inspiring communications campaign, supported the promotion of the 545 km cycle route that takes you to the natural parks of Calabria, pure Mediterranean ecosystem landscapes with breathtaking views. The ‘Ciclovia dei Parchi’ grew its visitors exponentially thanks to a well-thought communications campaign inviting cyclists from all over the world to plan a cycling trip to discover the impressive Calabrese natural heritage, bringing life and economic impact to the region. Palmarosa Fuccela, Communication Designer, shared an insightful presentation about the strategies that placed the award-winning cycle route onto the map.

Denmarks’ future recreational Network

Jesper Pørksen, Director of the Danish Cycling Tourism, National EuroVelo Coordination Centre (NECC) for Denmark and EuroVelo council member, presented the initiative they are currently working on: a national recreational network.

This project led by Danish Cycling Tourism is paving the way for a new recreational network for hikers and cyclists: Cykelnet. It started in four pilot areas, where signage and wayfinding for cyclists is being tested. Danish Cycling Tourism is asking users to share their feedback via their website to help achieve the highest possible quality. Understanding the needs of cyclists and the usage of cycling infrastructure in Denmark has been the first step for developing this high-quality network that aims to simplify wayfinding for visitors and support the coexistence of different outdoor activities (cycling, hiking and horse riding).

Sign at pilot location of the future Danish Recreational Network
Sign at pilot location of the future Danish Recreational Network © Marco Berends

The German data-based strategy to promote cycling tourism

Germany is one of the leading countries in cycling tourism and the key to its success is connected to its marketing strategy and data collection; the ‘Bicycle Travel Analysis’ annual study has allowed profiling of the cycle tourist and the market trends since 1998. These studies are a reference in Europe and are helping to understand the sector and its potential. Tourism expert, ADFC board member and EuroVelo Council member, Frank Hofmann presented the key aspects to consider for strategic marketing and communication in cycling tourism. Frank highlighted the importance of knowing what the users’ needs are and if the developed products are responding to those. The certification of cycle routes and services is also one of the value propositions of ADFC, developing high-quality products that respond to cyclists’ needs has been helping to grow the sector every year.

ADFC Bicycle Travel Analysis 2022
ADFC Bicycle Travel Analysis 2022 © ADFC/April Agentur

Kos in Greece is the island that invites you to cycle!

Spiros Papageorgiou is the Development Director the NGO Cities for Cycling, in Greece; he is also a member of the EuroVelo Council and the Greek National EuroVelo Coordination Centre representative. Spiros presented the case of Kos: The Cycling Island. The promise of sun and appealing beaches is a no-brainer on an island like Kos. Still, a gravel bike experience inland surrounded by fantastic nature is also a great experience. The island offers a complete experience to its visitors, that will end up cycling if they are in Kos. And that is the exceptional quality of Kos; cycling is the best and most convenient way to discover the area. With more than 6,500 bikes available for rental and car-free routes, it is easy to bike around the island. Adventure seekers will enjoy the mountain bike tracks and the long-distance cycle routes. Kos aspires to become an inspiration to promote sustainable mobility on other Greek islands.

Kos: The Cycling Island
Kos: The Cycling Island © 3T Bike

The NECCs online Workshops are exclusive for members of the network. However, you can learn more about cutting-edge strategies to promote cycling tourism, and inspiring new cycling destinations, in the upcoming' EuroVelo & Cycling Tourism Conference that will be held in Izmir, Türkiye, from 11 to 13 October 2023; stay tuned for more information!

Author: Marta Orihuel