EuroVelo 15 - Rhine Cycle Route is a perfect example of sustainable transnational cooperation, with many regions in Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands closely working together. All regions and countries are committed, including financially, while ECF has been appointed as the Secretariat. The EuroVelo 15 Partnership was signed for three years in 2015 and was extended two times in 2018 and 2021. It covers activities at the transnational level exclusively, based on the subsidiarity principle.
After an investment of over €2.3 million during the DEMARRAGE project, the Partnership gathered additional resources to keep the work and coordination going. The activities in the Partnership cover:
- Route infrastructure (coordination of the itinerary and of the signing systems; monitoring the implementation of the Action Plans),
- Public transport (cross-border PT opportunities),
- Services (collection of information related to service),
- Marketing, promotion, communication (operation of the Rhine Cycle Route web portal; search engine optimization; activities to involve users on the web; press work; flyers; touristic information),
- Usage monitoring, evaluation (at yearly intervals), and
- Organisation (internal communication; financial coordination).
In this Partnership, ECF is one of 8 partners from 5 different countries:
The EuroVelo 15 - Rhine Cycle Route’s popularity has continued to grow strongly in the past few years:
EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route was the third most popular long-distance cycling route in Germany in 2016, according to a market analysis by the German National EuroVelo Coordinator ADFC published in March 2017. It was also featured for the first time in the top ten of the most popular long-distance cycle routes outside of Germany, ranking eighth, according to the same survey.
Moreover, the Rhine Cycle Route is extremely popular on the web, being the first top route on EuroVelo.com. The web portal "www.RhineCycleRoute.eu" managed by ECF in the frame of the Partnership is available in English, French, German and Dutch. It enjoyed more than 230,000 sessions by over 200,000 different users in 2019, representing almost 15% of the total number of sessions on the main European cycle tourism web portal "www.EuroVelo.com". The Rhine Cycle Route website has seen strong growth in user visits in the past few years.
News articles are available in four languages, and contents, maps, as well as services along the route are constantly updated in order to attract more users to the Rhine Cycle Route as their next cycle-tourism destination. The news articles can be easily shared, are inspirational and engage users, with a special emphasis on the time shortly before and during the cycling season.
Campaigns on social media include a yearly Summer Photo Contest taking place on Instagram, which enjoys plenty of interest from users. Moreover, the Rhine Cycle Route's website includes 12 bookable offers.
ECF attends ITB Berlin, the world's leading travel trade show, every year, promoting EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route at a booth. Hundreds of route maps (flyers) and handbooks are handed out. EuroVelo 15 is each time promoted at panel discussions Cycle Tourism Day organised by ECF in cooperation with ITB and ADFC.