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Marketing the Economic Benefits of Bike Tourism

Marketing the Economic Benefits of Bike Tourism

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Published by Mary Lauran C Hall
Bicycle tourism has significant impacts on economies of all scales. According to a recent Advocacy Advance report, the state of Maine generates an estimated $66 million per year in bicycle tourism; North Carolina's Outer Banks alone generates $60 million annually in economic activity from bicycle tourism. On this call, expert panelists discussed how advocates can highlight the economic benefits of bicycle tourism in order to grow organizations and create new partnerships.
Bicycle tourism has significant impacts on economies of all scales. According to a recent Advocacy Advance report, the state of Maine generates an estimated $66 million per year in bicycle tourism; North Carolina's Outer Banks alone generates $60 million annually in economic activity from bicycle tourism. On this call, expert panelists discussed how advocates can highlight the economic benefits of bicycle tourism in order to grow organizations and create new partnerships.

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Published by: Mary Lauran C Hall on Apr 13, 2013
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Marketing the Economic Benefits of Bicycle TourismAlliance for Biking & WalkingMutual Aid Conference CallWednesday, April 10, 2013
Bicycle tourism has signi
cant impacts on economies of all scales. According to a
recentAdvocacy Advance report
, the state of Maine generates an estimated $66 million per yearin bicycle tourism; North Carolina's Outer Banks alone generates $60 million annually ineconomic activity from bicycle tourism. On this call, expert panelists discussed how advocates can highlight the economic bene
ts of bicycle tourism in order to grow organizations and create new partnerships.
Ginny Sullivan
Director of Travel InitiativesAdventure Cycling Association
e Big Picture
Bicycle tourism a growing niche in the active travel market. Active, sustainable andexperiential travel are the next big trends in tourism, and communities need to takeadvantage of this trend.Bike tourism itself has four common types of travelers.-
e
self-contained traveler
carries their own gear on their bike or in a support vehicle, stays at hotels or campgrounds along the way and eats at restaurants orgrocery stores;-
e
ride-centered traveler
stays in one location overnight and takes rides duringthe day;-
e
event-centered traveler
participates in or watches multi-day or one day organized rides or races; and-
e
urban cycle traveler
travels to one city and gets around by bike while there.Most people hear about trails and bike tourism facilities through word of mouth orhappenstance. Our communities need to do a better job of promoting trails, networks,and bike tourism opportunities.
Demographics, spending patterns and growth
Cyclists don’t just eat and sleep, they also buy accessories like shoes, bikes and otherequipment that all contribute to a local economy.Bike tourists tend to fall within three spending groups:-Shoe string, spending $10-25 per day;-Economy, spending $25-75 per day; and-Comfort cyclists – spend over $75 per da
 
Demographically, bicycle tourists tend to be highly educated with high discretionary income.Cycling abilities of bike tourists tend to vary widely, so a good bike tourism destinationshould provide opportunities that cater to cyclists from all ability ranges.Growth at the Adventure Cycling Association indicates broader general growth of thebicycle tourismmarket. In the last decade, Adventure Cyclinghas seen a 20% spike inmembership, a 66% increase in map sales, and a 90% increase in total sales, includinggear.
Examples of communities capturing the power of bicycle tourism
Communities can take advantage of nearby scenic route destinations — both regionaltrails like the East Coast Greenway and the Paci
c Coast Route and local trails like thePaul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota and the Great Alleghany Passage / C&O Canal betweenPittsburgh and Washington, D.C.Communities can also promote great bicycle tourism destinations, like biking in a speci
clocation, like Summit County, CO and Moab, Utah.Urban areas are also becoming bicycle tourism destinations. With bike share systems andgreat local bike networks, cities like Washington, DC, Minneapolis, and Long Beach arebranding themselves as bike friendly destinations.Rural locations can bene
t greatly from bike tourism’s economic impacts.
e small townof Lanesboro, MN estimated that bike tourism injects $25 million per year into the localeconomy.Along many popular routes, communities are increasingly providing facilities for biketourism. Farmington, MO turned an old jail into a bike hostel, and Pittsburgh, KS usedstudent and volunteer labor to create a shower facility in a park.
Economic impact studies
For more information on a study that can help in your community, contact Ginny (emaillink) or check 
Advocacy Advances Economic Impact report
. Also, stay tuned to theAlliance web site for a compiled list of bike tourism economic impact studies.
e European Parliament funded a study that found that the well mapped, signed,numbered and promoted Euro Velo system generates $57 billion per year in economicimpact.Quebec researchers found that cyclists on La Route Verte in 2000 spent $95.4 million viathe network.
e study estimated that the economic impact had risen from $72.3 millionby 2006. While a new study will be released soon, rough estimates put 2012 economicimpact at $233 million.
 
In the United States, Wisconsin found that the state generates $534 million from out-of-state cyclists. When considering impacts on industry and health, the economic impact of bike tourism rises to $1.5 billion.
anks to RAGBRAI, trail infrastructure, and emerging city networks, Iowa brings in$365 million — a million dollars each day — from cyclists traveling from out-of-state.In Oregon, the annual Ride Oregon event, Cycle Oregon, Scenic Byways, bike-friendly cities, supportive transportation sectors and tourism initiatives help the state economy generate $325.8 million from bike tourism. Moreover, the Oregon tourism bureau foundthat of the 17.4 million tourists who visit Oregon each year, 1.5 million planned to ridebefore they came and 4.5 million visitors rode a bike.Minnesota’s economy generates $427 million from recreation and mountain biking, withsizable chunk credited to tourism.
e state boasts trails, buy-in from tourism sectors andthe state department of transportation, bike-friendly small and large cities, and a new statebikeway program. For more information, see PedalMN.org.Trails for Illinois’ Trail Impact Study examined use and impact on 6 trails across the stateand found that 35% of trails users spend money in restaurants or bars and a majority bought accessories for trail use, such as shoes, bikes, clothing and camping gear. Mosttelling, 70% of trail users found out about the trail through word of mouth orhappenstance.Trails and routes bring in big dollars, too.
e Great Allegheny Passage generated $40.6million gross revenue in 2008, or $98 per day for each overnight cyclist. A survey foundthat the 11 largest multi-day rides in the country created more than $32 million ineconomic impact in 2011.In ski country, Summit County, Colorado generates $200 million for the local economy thanks to summer biking.
e Triple Bottom Line for Bicycle Tourism
e triple bottom line for bicycle tourism is:-Money: Investment leads to revenue.-Visibility: Signs, maps and promotion are important for a successful bike tourismeconomy.-Facilities, networks and connections (including other transportation modes):Usability and accessibility will lead to success.Communities and states can follow six steps to the bike tourism triple bottom line:-Build and brand
facilities
and create
destinations
-Build/brand local, regional and state
networks
-Connect with the
US Bicycle Route System
-Develop, promote and include
all types of bike tourism
: day tours, bike share, bikeovernights, events (races, rides like Tweed Rides), multi-day tours

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