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DEMARRAGE Project Long-term Management Agreement

EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route has been an extremely successful project, as it became the first fully certified EuroVelo route. Following the formal end of the project back in 2014, the Long-Term Management Agreement (LTMA) aims to ensure the continued operational effectiveness, the ability to assume responsibilities at the transnational level, financial stability, cost-effectiveness, and the durability of the route.

EuroVelo 15 - Rhine Cycle Route is a sustainable transnational cooperation, with many regions in Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands closely cooperating. All regions and countries are committed, including financially, while the ECF has been appointed as the secretariat. The LTMA was signed for three years in 2015 and was extended by another three years in 2018. It covers activities at the transnational level and not at the national, regional or local levels.

After an investment of over €2.3 million during the DEMARRAGE project, the LTMA is expected to free additional resources. The activities in the LTMA cover:

  • The 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 LTMA, ECF is one of 8 partners from 5 different countries:

Switzerland

Germany

France

The Netherlands

Achievements

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 also for the first time featured in the top ten of the most popular long-distance cycle routes outside of Germany, ranking eighth, according to the same survey.

www.RhineCycleRoute.eu

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 the ECF in the frame of the LTMA 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.

ITB Berlin

The ECF attends the ITB Berlin, the world's leading travel trade show, every year, promoting EuroVelo 15 – The 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 the ITB and ADFC.