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ECF and UN Tourism renew their cooperation for more cycling tourism in Europe

Thursday, February 8, 2024
The Memorandum of Understanding between the European Cyclists’ Federation and World Tourism Organization (UN Tourism) has been renewed for two years – a recognition that cycling tourism is an important part of a transition towards a more sustainable tourism.

The renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding comes after the first agreement, signed in 2021. The two organizations have agreed to continue their cooperation in multiple areas, which include:

  • To jointly promote cycling routes throughout the European region, including EuroVelo;
  • To work together to develop potential joint research related to sustainable mobility in general and cycling tourism in particular;
  • To co-operate in organizing potential joint activities, such as workshops, conferences and public events;
  • To highlight the increasing importance of cycling tourism, its benefits and regional economic impacts;
  • To advocate a form of slow and sustainable travel which encourages interest in the richness of local gastronomy, heritage and community life across the countries and regions of the European Region.

World Tourism Organization Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, said: “The benefits of cycling tourism extend far beyond the promotion of sustainable tourism products. It bears many-fold advantages for the economies of the host communities, health and wellbeing, cultural immersion, investments in infrastructure and road safety. I look forward to the continued collaboration, working together to advocate for cycling tourism as an efficient mechanism to address tourism seasonality and overcrowding, boosting all-round development of rural communities.”

ECF President, Henk Swarttouw said: “Cycling tourism is already very popular and brings multiple positive impacts at a global and local level on health, local economy, sustainability, cultural expressions, quality of life of residents, etc. It has a high potential for further developments that require action. ECF is very happy and proud to count on UN Tourism’s support to grow cycling tourism globally and especially promote data collection and innovations for this growing segment of tourism.”

EuroVelo 3 - Pilgrims Route on the way to Cape Finisterre, Spain.
EuroVelo 3 in Galicia, Spain. Photo credit: Kike Abelleira

The first Memorandum of Understanding between UN Tourism and ECF was signed in 2021. In the past two years, UN Tourism and ECF focused their cooperation on data and events. Alessandra Priante, Director for Europe, has spoken at two ECF events: the online celebration ‘25 years of EuroVelo’, on 21 November 2022, and a plenary session at the EuroVelo & Cycling Tourism Conference 2023, in Izmir, Türkiye, on 12 October 2023.

On this occasion, Alessandra Priante said: “Cycling tourism is growing at unprecedented rates; it is not a niche anymore, and it fosters sustainability like no other form of tourism. There is a growing eco-conscious tourism trend, especially among young people. As UN Tourism, we elevate cycling tourism in the tourism discourse, and we are happy to work with ECF to achieve this.”

Cover photo credit: Kike Abelleira