EuroVelo http://www.eurovelo.org the European cycle route network Wed, 15 May 2019 14:53:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 eurovelo_1.7.4 Changing Gear Workshop: How to reduce the impacts of visitor travel on cultural and heritage sites? http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/05/06/changing-gear-workshop-how-to-reduce-the-impacts-of-visitor-travel-on-cultural-and-heritage-sites/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/05/06/changing-gear-workshop-how-to-reduce-the-impacts-of-visitor-travel-on-cultural-and-heritage-sites/#comments Mon, 06 May 2019 15:20:07 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=16407 Over 20 people of 11 different nationalities met in Jelling, Denmark on 25 April 2019 to participate in a workshop about promoting access to cultural and heritage sites by bicycle. Organised in the frame of the ongoing EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route project, co-funded by the COSME Programme of the European Union, the workshop focused on practical measures to enable and encourage changes in visitor behaviour.

The first part of the day was dedicated to the concrete case study of the UNESCO site of Jelling, where the workshop took place, and understanding the issues that the site faces as a result of the increasing numbers of visitors. Morten Teilmann Jorgensen, Director of the Museum Kongernes Jelling, took the participants outside to see first-hand Jelling’s attractions – rune stones, burial mounds and palisade – but also the opportunities and challenges it faces in terms of visitor transportation.

After Jelling was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status in 1994, many visitors started coming to visit the site and their number increased significantly when a new visitor exhibition was installed in 2015, attracting many schools and families. This increasing demand makes it hard to balance the need to protect and conserve the site without depriving potential visitors of the opportunity to learn from this unique reminder of the Viking era.

Most visitors currently come to Jelling by car, which creates challenges with congestion and lack of car parking, particularly during the summer months, but also negatively affects the experience for other visitors (e.g. cyclists don’t feel safe on the roads surrounding the site). Promoting bikes and public transport as ways of accessing UNESCO sites is thus a real need in places such as Jelling.

A new initiative aiming to encourage the use of the bicycle has been developed by the local public authority, Vejle Municipality, entitled: Bike Friends. It is a network of 25 businesses that have committed to help passing cyclists (e.g. if they have a flat tire, if they are looking for directions etc.).

The workshop then continued inside with the participants identifying some of the common issues experienced by cultural sites; proposing solutions and studying some other concrete cases for inspiration.

Henrik Lythe Jorgensen from Danish Cycling Tourism presented a user’s perspective with a guide on what steps a UNESCO site should take to become more bike friendly. Richard Weston from the University of Central Lancashire gave some ideas on how to enable behaviour change – setting our both the ‘carrot’ and the ‘stick’ approaches.  Some of the soft measures mentioned included a reduced price for people showing up by public transport and providing better parking facilities for bikes.


The afternoon started with 3 very diverse case studies. Jakub Ditrich presented his “Grand Tour Czech: How to reach most UNESCO sites in Czechia in just one week?”, a cycling tour he has developed in Czechia. Kris Rockele from the Antwerpen Province in Belgium presented Greenways Heritage, a COSME project that started at the same time as the EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route project and has many connections with it. One of the deliverables of this project is the creation of a GIS database to store all greenways and UNESCO sites in Europe.  Finally, Richard Weston took the stage again to present some good and bad practices from UNESCO sites’ websites. The order in which modes of transportation to access the sites are presented is very important, and UNESCO sites would do well to start with cycling!

The day closed with round tables in which the participants in the workshop, divided in smaller groups, had the opportunity to exchange on what they had learnt and to reach some conclusions. Some key findings were that there is a natural synergy between UNESCO sites and cycling as they are both about sustainability; that the UNESCO sites should assume that the majority of visitors will come by bike, and plan accordingly; and that UNESCO sites should make it easy for cyclists, give them good information and the means to overcome their fears.

This hard day of learning and thinking was then wrapped around some delicious Danish cakes.

Head over to the dedicated page for the Changing Gear Workshop for additional information including the event programme and presentations.

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Austrian stretch of EuroVelo 6 even safer and more comfortable http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/05/03/austrian-stretch-of-eurovelo-6-even-safer-and-more-comfortable/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/05/03/austrian-stretch-of-eurovelo-6-even-safer-and-more-comfortable/#comments Fri, 03 May 2019 12:18:44 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=16400 A critical spot on the southern stretch of EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea east of Melk, Austria, has been improved, our National EuroVelo Coordinator in Austria, Radlobby, reports.

The authorities of Lower Austria, the municipality of Melk and Melk Abbey took action in autumn 2018 and had a new 400-metre-long and 2.5-metre-wide cycle path section east of Melk built at a level below the vehicle lane. The total costs of the improvement amount to around €1 million. Everyday cyclists can now also use this stretch as a cycle route between the towns on the Danube, explains Christian Höller from Radlobby in Melk.


© Schneider Consult

The Danube Cycle Route, which forms part of EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea, is the most frequently used tourist cycle route in Austria and one of the most popular long-distance cycle routes in Europe. Austria’s Wachau region, for instance, counts 250,000 cyclists every year.

However, there was a problematic stretch on the right bank of the river east of Melk. The route crossed the intersection of the B1/B33 highways unsecured and the cycle path, which was only 1.5 metres wide, required cyclists to dismount in oncoming traffic. This section has now been rebuilt.

Check out this video to get a better idea of this improvement.

Cover image © Friedbert Gunnar Thiess

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EuroVelo at ITB Berlin 2019 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/04/11/eurovelo-at-itb-2019/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/04/11/eurovelo-at-itb-2019/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2019 12:11:07 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=16277 On 6-10 March, the EuroVelo team returned once again to the Messe Berlin exhibition grounds for the 2019 edition of ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show. This year was busier than normal: in addition to coordinating the Cycling Tourism Day and presenting the annual EuroVelo awards, we also launched a brand new EuroVelo route.

The ITB provides a great platform to promote cycle tourism to professionals and the general public in the world’s largest cycle tourism market. The big announcement this year was the addition of a new route to the EuroVelo network, EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route! The route crosses France, Belgium and The Netherlands for over 1,100km while following the Meuse River from its source on the Langres plateau (northern France) to its mouth on the Dutch North Sea.

Moreover, in cooperation with ADFC (German National Cyclists’ Association), EuroVelo organised the Cycling Tourism Day on Friday, 8 March. The opening session of the Cycling Tourism Day brought together leading experts from the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club e.V. (ADFC), UNESCO, the Croatian National Tourism Board, Fietsplatform, the Pomorskie Region in Poland and Ruhr Tourismus from Germany for a panel discussion about the development of “scenic cycle routes and trails through natural and cultural landscapes”.

The second annual EuroVelo Awards were also part of the day’s programme with EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea being recognised as the ‘Most Popular EuroVelo Route’ of 2018 while, for a second year in a row, France took the honour as the ‘Most Popular Cycle Tourism Country’. The main stage session closed with a networking reception where food and drinks were served to guests at the ECF Booth in Hall 4.1.


The afternoon session comprised of several interactive presentations that highlighted the benefits of cycling for tourism destinations. The sessions showcased successful cycle tourism products at the European, national and regional levels with practical advice and best practices to attract cycle tourists. Topics ranged from how to develop a cycle-tourism product to the more innovative tourism-marketing tools to the natural, cultural and economic impact of cycle tourism for regions. The speakers that presented these case studies were experts from Via Claudia Augusta, Junta de Andalucía, Dansk Cykelturisme, Turismo de Galicia, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Tourismus, Fietsplatform and also the ADFC.

Over the weekend that followed (9-10 March), the ITB opened to the public. Our successful long-term developments such as EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtail TrailEuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route and our current on-going projects like AtlanticOnBikeBiking South Baltic!MEDCYCLETOUR and the EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route COSME project featured strongly at our booth in the Adventure Hall 4.1. It was a real success as more than a few thousand interested visitors came and used the opportunity to get valuable information about the routes.

You can find all of the individual presentations and a selection of photos at our dedicated ITB Berlin 2019 page.

Organised by:

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Supported by:

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EuroVelo routes perform well in ADFC’s 20th Bicycle Travel Analysis http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/03/28/eurovelo-routes-perform-well-in-adfcs-20th-bicycle-travel-analysis/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/03/28/eurovelo-routes-perform-well-in-adfcs-20th-bicycle-travel-analysis/#comments Thu, 28 Mar 2019 14:01:03 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=15854 The German Cyclists’ Association ADFC again presented its Bicycle Travel Analysis at this year’s ITB Berlin, the world’s leading tourism fair. This annual analysis provides some of the best data available on cycling tourism and is based on several polls with more than 7,500 responses from German cyclists.

EuroVelo routes were among the best-performing cycle routes according to the analysis. EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route and EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea were among the top five most-frequented routes. Most people cycled on the Weser Cycle Route in Germany in 2018, followed by the Elbe Cycle Route, Ruhr Valley Cycle Route, EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route, and Danube Cycle Route, which forms a large part of EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea.

The number of cycle tourists aged 18 or older to go on a cycling trip totalled 5.5 million people in 2018, up 27% compared to 2017 (4.3 million). The analysis defines a cycle tourist as someone who completed at least one trip with a minimum of three overnight stays in the past three years during which cycling was one of the main motives. The number of day trips by bike also rose by 35% to 258 million in 2018. Cycling tourism is expected to see further growth in the coming years.

Experiencing nature (86%), exploring unfamiliar regions (65%) and cycling along a specific route (50%) were among the most popular reasons for a cycling trip. 41.6% of the respondents planning a cycling trip in 2019 want to cycle in Europe (outside of Germany), up about 5% compared to the previous year’s plans.

A glance at the rankings shows that cyclists are becoming more experienced and demanding. They remain loyal to cycle tourism, but not necessarily to the destination. This increases the competitive pressure among routes and regions. All the more reason to demand professional quality management and creative marketing!

You will find more information about the analysis and the route and region rankings at www.adfc.de/radreiseanalyse. There is also an English report.

 

Cover picture © ADFC/Gloger

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France and EuroVelo 6 win at the EuroVelo Cycling Tourism Awards http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/03/21/france-and-eurovelo-6-win-at-the-eurovelo-cycling-tourism-awards/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/03/21/france-and-eurovelo-6-win-at-the-eurovelo-cycling-tourism-awards/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2019 08:32:29 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=15621 The second annual EuroVelo Cycle Tourism Awards were held at ITB Berlin 2019 on Friday 8 March. EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea was recognised as the ‘Most Popular EuroVelo Route’ of 2018 while, for a second year in a row, France took the honour as the ‘Most Popular Cycle Tourism Country’.

Representatives from EuroVelo 6 and France received the trophies from Adam Bodor, ECF Advocacy and EuroVelo Director on the Main Stage in ITB Berlin’s Hall 4.1. The awards were held during the Cycling Tourism Day organised by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) in cooperation with ADFC (German National Cyclists’ Association).

With 8 EuroVelo routes that cover more than 8,000 km, France is one of the leading cycling tourism destinations in the world.  During 2018, the French sections of EuroVelo.com received the most visitors with more than a million pageviews. It is not surprising when you consider that, as of January 2019, 85% of the planned EuroVelo routes are already implemented in the country thanks to the long and concerted effort by our French National Coordination Centre, Vélo & Territoires! They also recently revamped the France Vélo Tourism website which contains the latest news, itineraries and other resources to discover France by bike. The itineraries in France offer cyclists a varied natural and cultural heritage scattered across many beautiful regions that run along coasts, rivers, castles and vineyards. Some popular examples are La Loire à Vélo (EuroVelo 6), La Vélodyssée (EuroVelo 1), La ViaRhôna (EuroVelo 17)and parts of the Rhine Cycle Route (EuroVelo 15).

“EuroVelo routes are our champion routes in France and leading the way for our national cycle route network’s development. French local authorities are now quite broadly committed to developing cycling. It’s a long-haul process and we have a lot of catching up to do before we reach the quality of Germany or the Netherlands, but EuroVelo is a flagship for our national tourism offer and are also used for everyday mobility” Camille Thomé, Vélo & Territoires Director

The success of cycling tourism in France partly contributes to EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic – Black Sea becoming the most popular EuroVelo route last year. According to our report, EuroVelo 6 saw a record 69.2% increase in page visits from France. This meant that the route experienced an unprecedented surge of interest in comparison to last years’ winner EuroVelo 15 (which nevertheless registered an overall 5.9% increase on our platform). Known for its famous sections along the Loire and the Danube Rivers, EuroVelo 6 stretches 4,448 km across the continent from Saint-Nazaire to the Danube Delta. Capital cities, UNESCO sites, festivals or culinary delights, the cycle route has something for everybody!

“It was a great honour for the Danube Competence Centre (DCC) to accept the award in the name of all National EuroVelo Coordination Centres along the EuroVelo 6 Route. We are very pleased to learn that the tourists recognised EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic–Black Sea cycling route as the most popular in Europe. The sections of the route between Passau and Vienna annually attract more than 650.000 cycling visitors already.  However, we believe that there is lots of potential for it to grow further as the route continues to be developed.

For the DCC, as an organisation dedicated to development of tourism and cycling tourism, it is pleasure to see how overall development of the EuroVelo 6 route, brings more international cyclists into the regions of Middle and Lower Danube every year. This international award is the outcome of strong cooperation between the local partners, National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and ECF colleagues. It is through this cooperation and the realisation of projects in the field of cycling, tourism and sustainable mobility, that the route will gain even greater visibility in the future. This prize is only confirmation that we are all moving in right direction.” Vladan Krečković, Danube Competence Center Project Coordinator

The EuroVelo Cycle Tourism Awards are given each year to the most popular country and EuroVelo route based on a number of different criteria, including web statistics and a popular choice survey. The main purpose of the Awards is to celebrate the contribution made towards promoting cycling tourism by the winning candidates and to encourage others to follow in their footsteps to receive the coveted EuroVelo winners’ title and trophy.

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Open call to host the EuroVelo Conference 2020! http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/03/14/open-call-to-host-the-eurovelo-conference-2020/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/03/14/open-call-to-host-the-eurovelo-conference-2020/#comments Thu, 14 Mar 2019 16:00:41 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=15483 The European Cyclists´ Federation (ECF) is looking for a city/region to host the next EuroVelo Conference in 2020. The EuroVelo Conference is the premier event of its class in Europe. Aiming to gather professionals from the (cycling) tourism sectors from around the world.

The Conference is unique in several ways and does not just attract one type of profession but brings together all those who are involved in the (cycling) tourism sector: accommodation providers, public transport companies, tour operators, universities/academia, tourism officials, public authorities, cycle tourism world and user groups. During the last EuroVelo Conference, a record number of participants (over 150), 10 exhibitors/sponsors and 40 speakers joined us in 8 plenary and parallel sessions.

Those wishing to host the EuroVelo Conference in 2020 can submit their bids by 8th July 2019 (noon CET).

All the information about the bidding process: bidding manual, calendar, contact person, etc. can be found on the dedicated web page for the EuroVelo Conference 2020 bidding process.

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Updated itineraries for EuroVelo 2 and EuroVelo 11 in Poland http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/28/updated-itineraries-for-eurovelo-2-and-eurovelo-11-in-poland/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/28/updated-itineraries-for-eurovelo-2-and-eurovelo-11-in-poland/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2019 09:10:21 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=15010 In December 2018, the Mazowieckie Voivoidship adopted a new land-use plan including updated itineraries for EuroVelo 2 – Capitals Route and EuroVelo 11 – East Europe Route in the region. This is very good news for EuroVelo as it shows political recognition of the European Cycle Route Network in Poland!

Mazowieckie Voivoidship is the largest of the 16 Polish provinces, and also the most populous. It is the province of the national capital Warsaw and of some other important Polish cities, such as Radom and Plock. Despite the density of population, the Mazowieckie Voivoidship is also known for its greenery: forests cover over 20% of the voivodeship’s area, where pines and oaks predominate in the regional landscape. Additionally, the Kampinos National Park located within this province is a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve. All in all, it is a beautiful area to explore by bike on EuroVelo 2 or EuroVelo 11.

Looking to ensure effective communication of the cycling routes in the Mazowieckie Voivoidship, this new land-use plan identifies several categories in the province’s backbone network of bicycle routes: international, supra-regional and regional. The international cycling routes are formed by two routes that form part of the EuroVelo network: EuroVelo 2 – Capitals Route that crosses Poland from West to East, from the German-Polish border, through Poznań, Warsaw and towards Belarus along the Warszawa-Tłuszcz railway line, and EuroVelo 11 – East Europe Route that goes from the Polish-Lithuanian border towards the south, through Warsaw and along the Vistula River to Slovakia. We can see that the EuroVelo routes are fully included in the province’s land-use plan, creating a connection between daily bicycle commutes and longer journeys by bike.

The updated itineraries for EuroVelo 2 (going from West to East) and EuroVelo 11 (going from North to South) in the region are shown in this map, in green:

Furthermore, the plan recognizes that infrastructure is a decisive factor for tourism development, and that the EuroVelo routes play an important role in developing the tourism potential of the province. In order to ensure the construction of quality cycle routes, the plan defines some criteria that are consistent with the EuroVelo European Certification Standard, such as the separation between the bicycle path and the road in areas with a high traffic (exceeding 10,000 vehicles per day) and the conditions of acceptability of side bicycle lanes and mixed traffic.

We hope that these updated itineraries and promotion of the EuroVelo network in Poland will be followed by investing in development of the routes. This is turn will encourage more people to explore their region, their country or even to go beyond the border by bicycle. You can find out more about the Mazowieckie Voivoidship by visiting their website: www.mazovia.pl.

Cover photo © Zielone Mazowsze

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EuroVelo could benefit from European Parliament’s proposed €300 million budget for sustainable tourism http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/27/eurovelo-could-benefit-from-european-parliaments-proposed-e300-million-budget-for-sustainable-tourism/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/27/eurovelo-could-benefit-from-european-parliaments-proposed-e300-million-budget-for-sustainable-tourism/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2019 14:41:28 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=14997 European public and private tourism stakeholders gathered on 24 January 2019 in Brussels for the European Tourism Manifesto for Growth & Jobs meeting hosted by The European Travel Commission. The meeting was co-chaired by ECF Advocacy & EuroVelo Director Ádám Bodor.

The main topic of discussion was the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) covering the 2021-2027 period. The proposed long-term budget for different areas of activity put forward by the European Parliament allocates a dedicated €300 million budget line for sustainable tourism. During the meeting, the stakeholders shared their thoughts on various EU policy priorities for the tourism sector such as digitisation, sustainability and transport connectivity and also discussed EuroVelo and cycle tourism playing a key role in the proposed investment.

Building upon the Manifesto meeting, representatives from the European Tourism Manifesto and The World Travel & Tourism Council recently presented the “Tourism Legacy Paper” to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who demonstrated his willingness to move towards an integrated European tourism policy.

The European Parliament’s proposal still needs to be agreed with the EU Member States before it is adopted but the support from Mr Tajani and the Parliament’s Plenary for a brand new budget line specifically for cycle tourism is encouraging.

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Under the European Tourism Manifesto for Growth & Jobs, various tourism organisations from Europe are cooperating to advocate for a holistic approach to promote the competitiveness of the European tourism sector by creating a favourable environment for its growth and development and by establishing an integrated approach to the travel and tourism sector.

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Valencia region invests in EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/26/valencia-region-invests-in-eurovelo-8-mediterranean-route/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/26/valencia-region-invests-in-eurovelo-8-mediterranean-route/#comments Tue, 26 Feb 2019 14:42:12 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=14923 In January, the Government of the Autonomous Region of Valencia unveiled plans for the development of the Valencian section of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. Labelled by Minister Maria José Salvador as the “Mediterranean bicycle corridor”, the cycling itinerary stretches more than 500km across the three Spanish coastal provinces that form the Valencia region.

The itinerary passes through 78 local municipalities connecting different tourist attractions, such as natural parks, and touristic services, such as campsites. The planned route will not only serve the 4.9 million inhabitants of the Valencia region but also attract tourists to the area boosting the local economy and enriching the existing touristic offers.

Divided into a total of ten stages, averaging about 50km each, the Valencian government plans to invest 10.9 million euros during two phases to fully develop this part of the route. The first phase has an investment of 4.7 million euros and is expected to be operational by 2020. This phase consists of signalisation and initial development works. The second phase will focus on improving the quality of the route infrastructure and is scheduled to be completed by 2030.

The planning stage to define the itinerary was initiated in 2017 by the Valencian government in cooperation with local stakeholders such as different town councils and other associations.

Castellón

The first stage (Ulldecona – Alcalà de Xivert) of the Valencian Community tour begins in the province of Castellón up till stage 3 (Castellón – Sagunto). This section stretches for nearly 150km and gives cyclists the opportunity to explore old coastal towns like Peniscola alongside nature preserves such as Serra d’Irta and Prat de Cabanes Torreblanca. The latter already has EuroVelo 8 signing in place!

Valencia

The route in the province of Valencia starts at stage 3 (Castellón – Sagunto) and ends at stage 6 (Gandia – Muro d’Alcoi). The planned itinerary will connect EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route with existing low-traffic cycling networks and greenways in 35 municipalities which include points of interest like the historic city of Valencia, the Serpis river and the Albufera Natural Park. In total, four stages over a distance of 130km pass through the province.

Alicante

Lastly, the province of Alicante encloses the largest part of the itinerary with 217km across five stages. Beginning with stage 6 (Gandia – Muro d’Alcoi) until the final stage (Elche – Orihuela). Some of the main attractions include the salt flats in Santa Pola and the sandy dunes of Guardamar.

The Valencian Community circuit is a great example of the environmental and cultural diversity in the region. Additionally, this section of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route marks an important step in the development of the route in Spain. Overall, the route passes through 11 countries for a total distance of more than 6000km, almost a third of which is located along the eastern Spanish coast. The country is also crossed by two other EuroVelo routes, EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route and EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route. EuroVelo’s National Coordinator Center in Spain, Conbici, coordinates the regional development of these cycle routes.

EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route is the basis for the MEDCYCLETOUR project which aims to develop cycle tourism in the Mediterranean region by providing transnational tools to attract visitors.

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EU’s tourism conference showcases EuroVelo http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/15/eus-tourism-conference-showcases-eurovelo/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/02/15/eus-tourism-conference-showcases-eurovelo/#comments Fri, 15 Feb 2019 09:41:32 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=14613 The European Commission is organising a “Showcase Conference on Tourism” on 19 March in Brussels. The conference aims to highlight tourism projects supported by the EU under the programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME) and EuroVelo has been selected among a number of COSME funded projects to be showcased during the event.

According to ITB’s World Travel Trends Report 2018/2019, the demand for outbound tourism for Europe continues to show a yearly upwards trend. Many projects are actively promoting culture and tourism to millions of travellers across the continent, such as the on-going EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route COSME project promoting cycling tourism. Using 14 examples of good practices developed under the COSME programme, the Commission hopes to inspire more cooperation and participation from the tourism sector as well as reflect upon future EU support for tourism projects.

The conference programme consists of two main sessions, covering topics like public-private partnerships (PPPs) and innovation with the participation of the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and other key speakers. ECF Advocacy and EuroVelo Director, Ádám Bodor, will be participating in the panel discussions with other representatives of the selected COSME projects to underline the long-term sustainability, quality, and efficiency of the EuroVelo projects funded by COSME.  Several EuroVelo routes have benefitted from the COSME programme over the years including EuroVelo 5 – Via Romea Francigena and EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail.

The event will gather up to 200 participants, including representatives of public authorities at EU, national and regional level, European tourism sector associations and tourism and travel industry. Registrations are open via this page.

The COSME project aims to strengthen transnational cooperation for the development of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route as a transnational and cultural long distance cycle route. The ECF is one of eight partners from six different countries.

 

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A year of record growth for EuroVelo websites http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/30/a-year-of-record-growth-for-eurovelo-websites/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/30/a-year-of-record-growth-for-eurovelo-websites/#comments Wed, 30 Jan 2019 09:04:53 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=13785 Last year was successful for the entire EuroVelo web platform with record-breaking numbers of visitors. The ever-increasing growth of our platform reflects and supports the growth of the cycle tourism industry generally.

Record numbers

We’ve crunched the numbers and they are impressive! The number of new visitors to the EuroVelo webpages rose by more than 28% compared to last year. In total, across the entire EuroVelo web platform, our websites received 5,340,997 pageviews in 2018. This is an all-time high and a year-on-year increase of 26.5%. This substantial yearly growth reflects the fact that the EuroVelo network is the biggest cycle tourism initiative of its kind in Europe.

The way visitors arrive at our sites is equally an important factor. Over half of the traffic to our sites was delivered by organic searches. This means that most of the visitors are willingly looking for us, wanting to discover more about travelling on EuroVelo routes or cycle tourism in general. The aggregate pageview results appear even more impressive considering that EuroVelo doesn’t use paid advertising to drive traffic to any part of its platform. Additionally, the amount of traffic driven through social media channels increased by 20% over the previous year.

Aggregate results from the EuroVelo Web Statistics 2018 report

The global trend of increasing mobile usage is echoed with the record 58% rise by visitors using their smartphones and other mobile devices to browse our websites. While most users still access the sites using their desktop computers, the convenience of having an accessible and fully optimized mobile experience to access route information can’t be understated as shown by these figures. The new EuroVelo web platform, which will be formally launched soon, will further cater to our audience with a modern and easy to use mobile interface!

EuroVelo.com

At the core of the EuroVelo web platform is EuroVelo.com which provides information on all the EuroVelo routes and cycle tourism generally in every European country. This website continues to perform exceptionally well as reflected by the vast amount of pageviews (4,308,858 – 33.7% increase) associated solely with EuroVelo.com. 2018 marks the first time that the website broke the million unique visitors’ milestone. Among the 1,050,070 visitors, 847,560 (41.7% increase) were new visitors to the site while 202,510 (40.7% increase) were returning visitors. On average, all visitors spent around 3 minutes on the site.

Routes: EuroVelo 15 remains the most popular route

There were outstanding increases for most of our popular routes this year. However, EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route continues to be the most visited route page by a good margin with 771,105 pageviews. The pageviews for EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic – Black Sea rose 88.3% to a record amount of 267,397. The other most visited routes were EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route, EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims’ Route, EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route and EuroVelo 7 – Sun Route.

Countries: France attracts the most visitors

With 1,114,449 pageviews across 266,510 visitors, France is still the country which brings the most attention to our web platform. Although the most visited route for French visitors is also EuroVelo 15, one of the main drivers of the French visitors’ increasing numbers is EuroVelo 6. Other countries with high number of pageviews include the United Kingdom, Germany, United States (record high 80.7% increase) and Belgium.

We owe a massive thanks to our partners and other stakeholders that helped to promote the European cycle network. Most importantly, we thank our visitors who continue to take interest in EuroVelo and our network of 15 long distance cycle routes. With your support, we aim to do even bigger things in the upcoming year!

Read the full EuroVelo Web Statistics 2018 report

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Most read EuroVelo articles of 2018 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/30/most-read-eurovelo-articles-of-2018/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/30/most-read-eurovelo-articles-of-2018/#comments Wed, 30 Jan 2019 08:50:28 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=13771 During the year, we publish different types of written content on our two websites. From discovering beautiful locations along EuroVelo routes, to big annual events and plenty of inspirational travel stories about Europe or global cycle tours. Here is a list of the most read articles of 2018 for EuroVelo.com and EuroVelo.org!

EuroVelo.com

6 Essential Tips to Help You Prepare for Your First Cycling Holiday

Bike touring doesn’t necessarily mean that you keep pedalling until you drop. Take some time to admire the scenery or visit the local tourist attractions. Remember that it is just like any other holiday abroad, but without having to worry about running out of gas or looking for plane tickets. In this article, we are also going to talk about how you can avoid poorly planned cycling holidays abroad by choosing well developed cycle routes such as the EuroVelo network.

Discover Greece’s beautiful EuroVelo routes

EuroVelo cycle tourists wishing to discover Greece’s rich cultural and natural heritage by bike have a new tool at hand. Find all the information in one place on eurovelo.gr, a new website launched recently by our Greek National EuroVelo Coordinator “Cities for Cycling”.

Discovery of the French and Spanish sections of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean route

As cold, dark winter is setting in across much of Europe, maybe you are daydreaming about going to a warm place for the holidays by bike? Why don’t you go to the south of France or Spain to cycle along the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean route? If you are not convinced yet, you will be after having watched these two videos.

MatoVeve have gone mad Around the World Trip: “It is always people we meet who make the trip special”

Veronika and Martin from Slovakia are currently cycling the EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea, as part of their trip around the world. We asked them a few questions about their journey. Read on to meet these curious and enthusiastic travellers!

Route 60: Cycling around Europe. Stories about all of us.

Jean Dujardin, a Journalist living in Belgium decided for the 60th birthday of the European Union, to challenge himself and go on a cycle tour across Europe and Tunisia for several months. Read on to find out more about Jean’s adventure on the EuroVelo 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10.

 

EuroVelo.org

Categories of EuroVelo routes

We have noticed that the categories of EuroVelo routes are not always perfectly clear for everyone. This article aims to clarify the meanings of the different kinds of EuroVelo routes: certified, developed, under development and at the planning stage. We hope that this summary will be useful both for professionals working with us to improve the network and for cycling tourists planning their next journey!

2018 EuroVelo Year In Review

The end of the year provided a good opportunity to look back over what has been another successful year for EuroVelo. Big events, important network developments and new members shaped 2018. This is EuroVelo’s year in review.

ITB Berlin 2018 – Cycle Tourism Day

EuroVelo attended ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel and tourism trade fair, on 7-11 March 2018. The ITB brought many innovations last year, including a Cycle Tourism Day on 9 March and the EuroVelo Cycle Tourism Awards.

Andalusia announces new EuroVelo investment

In a meeting with the ECF, the Andalusian Minister of Public Works, Transport and Housing announced a commitment to complete the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Spain’s southernmost self-governing region.

Belgian Limburg to host the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) was pleased to announce that it had selected Belgian Limburg to host the fourth edition of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference. The premier Cycle Tourism Conference in Europe took place in Limburg (Belgium) on 26-28 September 2018.

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UNESCO Workshop: bringing cycling tourism and cultural heritage together http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/29/unesco-workshop-bringing-cycling-tourism-and-cultural-heritage-together/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/29/unesco-workshop-bringing-cycling-tourism-and-cultural-heritage-together/#comments Tue, 29 Jan 2019 10:56:37 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=13709 If you want to find out how cycling tourism can benefit cultural heritage do not miss the UNESCO Workshop that is taking place in Jelling, Denmark on 25th April!  This original event will look at the challenges faced by cultural heritage sites when their numbers of visitors increase and the solutions that cycling can provide.

The growth in popularity of cultural heritage site visits has brought important revenues through entrance fees and souvenir sales, but it can also have damaging consequences, especially if a significant number of visitors arrive by private car. In order to preserve our heritage, it is vital that we find efficient ways to change visitors’ travel behaviour.

Grand-Place of Tournai, Belgium – © Denis Erroyaux/WBT

Promoting the use of the bicycle to visit cultural heritage sites is a very good way to reduce the impact of leisure travel. When more tourists travel by bike it solves parking problems, dramatically reduces pollution and improves the sites’ settings.

Here is the preliminary program of the UNESCO Workshop:

  • Identifying the issues: An overview of the problems created by increased access to cultural heritage sites, largely by private car.
  • Options for promoting behaviour change: Creating a site specific plan, and first steps in changing travel behaviour.
  • Case studies: Some examples of successful ‘travel behaviour change’ campaigns at other cultural sites.
  • Roundtable discussion: Sharing your experiences and learning from each other.
  • Conclusions: summing up the day and presentation of a new handbook that is being prepared on this topic.

All people involved in cultural heritage site management are highly welcome to attend this free event. Join us to share your expertise, discuss the challenges that you have met in the past and hear ideas that will help you to tackle this important issue!

EuroVelo 3 in Galicia, Spain – © Marc Gasch

You can already pre-register to the workshop by sending an email to mtj@natmus.dk with the title ‘UNESCO Workshop’.

unesco workshop preview

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Major new developments along EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route: Part 2 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/24/major-new-developments-along-eurovelo-8-mediterranean-route-part-2/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/24/major-new-developments-along-eurovelo-8-mediterranean-route-part-2/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2019 16:02:44 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=13550 Last month, we had started to introduce the pilots that the MEDCYCLETOUR project partners from 7 different countries (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus) are conducting along EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. We invite you now to read about two other types of pilots: the development of intermodality schemes and the setting up of national Cycling Friendly Services Networks!

In order to present you concrete examples of these pilots, we have selected specific pilot projects from two of the partners: the bike shuttles in Mantova (Italy) and the Cycling Friendly Services Network “Accueil Vélo” in the French Départment des Alpes-Maritimes. But when other project partners are working on the same types of pilots, we have made sure to mention them in this article!

Bike and Public Transport Combined Travel Services

This pilot concerns the setting up of bike shuttles between EuroVelo 8 and the main train stations, airports, hotels and restaurants close by. It has been successfully implemented since September 2018 by the Consortium of the Oltrepo Mantovano Region in Italy. This service is free for all cycle tourists who want to discover the Mantuan stretch of EuroVelo 8 and will be in place every weekend, from Friday to Sunday, until 31 December 2019.

Bike Shuttle EuroVelo 8 Bike Shuttle EuroVelo 8 – © Consorzio Oltrepo Mantovano

All cycle tourists have to do to benefit from the “EuroVelo Bike Shuttle” is to book their journey by sending an email to shuttleeurovelo8@gmail.com or giving a call to +39 33 86 21 11 51. The bike shuttle allows cyclists to reach EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route with their bicycles from Verona and Bologna airports and from the railway stations of Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Ferrara, Verona, Mantua, Cremona, Casalmaggiore and Brescello. The bike shuttle can also transport people and bikes between places of interest (museums, protected areas, festivals, etc.) and accommodation facilities such as hotels, B&B, farmhouses and restaurants in the Province of Mantua.

As the Oltrepo Mantovano Region is a rural area with a lack of public transportation and of cycle tourism services in general, this action is a good way to support cycle tourism in the region of the Po River. It enables cyclists to explore EuroVelo 8 at their pace and to discover the neighbouring cities and places of interest without losing time and energy looking for transportation options.

This bike friendly service is promoted on information brochures that are distributed in accommodation facilities and attractions of the region. Here is the promotion poster providing details on the Bike Shuttle:

Mantova Bike Shuttle

The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the Regional Development Center of Koper are also implementing bike and public transport pilots. There can be some differences from one partner region to another, as in the use of trailers or bike racks, and in the possibility to coordinate this pilot with an existing bus company.

Cycling Friendly Services Networks

The last pilot included in the MEDCYCLETOUR project is the labeling of cycling friendly services along EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in order to create a network of high-quality services. The Department of Alpes Maritimes (CD06), French partners of the project, have already proceeded to the assignment of the professional “Accueil Vélo” (Cyclists Welcome) label to hosting facilities, bicycle rental and repair shops and tourist offices along their stretch of the route.

17_services_Vélo Loisir Provence © Vélo Loisir Provence

“Accueil Vélo” is a national mark across France that guarantees a good welcome for cyclists and high-quality services. It concerns accommodation, tourist offices, bike rental and repair companies and places to visit. Those awarded the quality mark are located no more than 5km from the cycle route (in this case EuroVelo 8!) and must respect certain conditions:

  • Offering a warm welcome specially geared to cycling tourists via a personalized welcome, information and advice (on cycling trails, weather, further “Accueil Vélo” services) and a special breakfast;
  • Offering services such as: luggage transfers, clothes washing and drying, rental of bikes and accessories, bike-cleaning;
  • Offering special facilities: a secure shelter for bikes and repair kits.

The “Accueil Vélo” services can be spotted by the official logo:

Accueil Vélo

Those accepted in the frame of the MEDCYCLETOUR project are given a name plate and promotional items to display on their communication tools. The list is available on the Alpes Maritimes’ website, and the label is promoted on many national websites, such as Tourisme & Territoires and our National Coordination Centre Vélo & Territoires. These professionals will be offered a free evaluation during the first 3 years of the pilot, in order to guarantee that cycle tourists get a high-quality welcome on EuroVelo 8.

This map shows the area covered by the network of services (in green the areas where the network is already realized or in progress, and in red the areas where the services are currently being assessed):

map Accueil Vélo (1)

And on the interactive map of the French EuroVelo 8 website you can see the distribution of cycle friendly services near the cycle route and links to their websites.

The Alpes Maritimes have coordinated the brand labelling of many cycle friendly services which were selected with the help of local tourist offices who promoted the label and prioritised the professionals corresponding to the criteria. More than 90 cycle friendly services of the region are now part of the “Accueil Vélo” family!

The Consorzio Oltrepo Mantovano (Italy) and the Regional Development Center of Koper (Slovenia) are also implementing Cycling Friendly Services Networks: the “Mantova province’s network of cycling friendly services” and the “EuroVelo 8 Friendly Services Network in Slovenia”.

 

We invite you to visit the MEDCYCLETOUR website to learn more about this project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and about the pilots that were not detailed in this article. We are convinced that these investments, allowing the development not only of the route’s infrastructure but also of services intended for cycle tourists, will greatly improve EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route and make it a high-quality cycle route for the benefit of visitors and local communities alike!

LOGO_COLOUR_MEDCYCLETOUR

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EuroVelo at ITB Berlin 2019 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/24/eurovelo-at-itb-berlin-2019/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/24/eurovelo-at-itb-berlin-2019/#comments Thu, 24 Jan 2019 14:32:06 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=13563 EuroVelo will be returning to the Messe Berlin exhibition grounds for the 2019 edition of ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, which will be held on 6-10 March, 2019. You are all invited to visit us at the Hall 4.1 booth 256 and to join the Cycling Tourism Day!

In cooperation with ADFC (German National Cyclists’ Association), EuroVelo will organise the Cycling Tourism Day on Friday, 8 March. Among the main highlights of the event will be the EuroVelo Award, the launch of a new EuroVelo route and a networking reception with food and drinks.

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On the main stage, EuroVelo will unveil the latest route to join the EuroVelo network which will become the fourth new route to be added to the network since it was first launched back in 1995. Following this launch, leading experts from the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club e.V. (ADFC) as well as other cycling and tourism organisations will get together for a panel discussion about the development of “scenic cycle routes and trails through natural and cultural landscapes”. The discussion, open to the questions from the public, is a perfect opportunity to learn more about opportunities and trends in European cycle tourism. But the number of seats is limited, so make sure to arrive in time!

The last ITB also marked the inauguration of the EuroVelo Cycle Tourism Awards. At last year’s ceremony, France was recognized as the most popular cycle tourism country meanwhile EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route claimed the title of the most popular EuroVelo Route in 2017. It is going to be interesting to see who takes home the trophies at this year’s EuroVelo Awards!

DSC_0401

With over 170,000 visitors, the ITB provides a great opportunity to meet both professional and members of the public interested in cycling tourism in Europe. Be sure to come join us at the dedicated ECF booth located in Hall 4.1b Adventure Travel (booth no. 256) where we will also welcome visitors for a networking lunch from 12:30 on Friday 8th March as part of the Cycling Tourism Day.

Later in the day, on the adventure stage, there will be several sessions showcasing successful cycle tourism products at European, national and regional levels with practical advice and best practices to attract cycle tourists. We will be particularly highlighting our successful long-term developments such as EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtail Trail, EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route and our current on-going projects like AtlanticOnBike, Biking South Baltic!, MEDCYCLETOUR and the EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route COSME project.

Make sure to follow along and join the conversation using #CyclingTourismITB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

You can also visit our dedicated page for ITB Berlin 2019 to have a look at the full day’s programme and time slots.

Organised by:

ITB transparentDruckafdc

Supported by:

Biking-South-Baltic!-logo-gradientLogo and EU emblem RGB  

DEMARRAGE LOGO kleinLOGO_ERDF_MEDCYCLETOUR-En

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Register for the EuroVelo Route Inspectors Training Course 2019 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/22/register-for-the-eurovelo-route-inspectors-training-course-2019/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/22/register-for-the-eurovelo-route-inspectors-training-course-2019/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2019 14:57:07 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=13483 The ECF has opened registration for the next EuroVelo Route Inspectors Training Course. The training will be based on the European Certification Standard (ECS) for long-distance cycle routes. It will take place at the ECF offices in Brussels (Belgium) on 18-19 March.

ECS 2018 photo 1 ECS 2018 photo 2

During the two-day training course, the EuroVelo team will explain how to survey bicycle routes using the comprehensive methodology and software provided by ECF. The knowledge about the ECS acquired by the participants will help them support the development of EuroVelo and other cycle routes. While the methodology is tailored to survey EuroVelo routes, it is equally useful for national or regional cycle routes, as certified EuroVelo Route Inspectors are made aware of crucial quality criteria and can identify a cycle route’s strengths and weaknesses more easily. They can help identify development needs and prioritize investments. For example, reduced travel time and safer cycling conditions are often cited as important criteria for cyclists.

During the training, participants will attend several workshops that will define the theory and practice of surveying routes. They will familiarise themselves with the ECS and the ECF app before collecting data in the field during a bicycle trip in and around Brussels. They will also learn how to correctly process this data. At the end of the training, participants will be tested on what they have learned and, on condition that they pass, will receive an official EuroVelo Route Inspectors Diploma.

ECS 2018 photo 3 ECS 2015 photo

Registration is open for everyone but the number of possible participants for the event is limited. Participants will be selected on a first come, first served basis, but priority will be given to the EuroVelo project partners and NECCs.

Please visit the EuroVelo Route Inspectors Training Course 2019 page to learn more about the registration process, costs and other details.

 

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Sustrans’ new vision for the National Cycle Network http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/17/sustrans-new-vision-for-the-national-cycle-network/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2019/01/17/sustrans-new-vision-for-the-national-cycle-network/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2019 11:29:17 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=13176 Sustrans, National EuroVelo Coordinator in the UK, ‘relaunched’ their National Cycle Network (NCN) at the end of 2018 with an ambitious Vision for the development of the network over the coming decades. The NCN, one of the original inspirations for EuroVelo, is over 23 years old now and so Sustrans first decided to get a better understanding of the current status of the network.  During a two-year-long audit, they reviewed the condition of 26,675 km and now have a complete overview of what needs to be improved and where.

w660_10254804_emailncnreviewcustodian

Article based on Sustrans’ Special Newsletter about the NCN’s review

All the EuroVelo routes that pass though the UK are located on the NCN, so the planned improvements also benefit the European cycle route network too! The longest one is EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route which passes through all four countries that make up the UK: Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England.  It includes Devon Coast to Coast route (National Route 27), the Celtic Trail along the Welsh coast and the Lochs and Glens route crossing Loch Lomond National Park and Cairngorms National Park in Scotland.  EuroVelo 12 – North Sea Cycle Route also has an extensive section in the UK, for most of its route following National Route 1 – a route exploring the UK’s east coast.

EuroVelo 2 – Capitals Route travels through the heart of Wales along the Lôn Las Cymru (National Route 8), taking in Snowdonia National Park and Brecon Beacons National Park, then visits the grand cities of Bristol and Bath and joins the scenic Kennet and Avon Cycle Route (National Route 4) and the Thames Valley Route on its way to London. Finally, EuroVelo 5 – Via Romea Francigena has its first little stretch in the UK, starting at the historic City of Canterbury and going on along pleasant Kentish Lanes to the coast at Dover.

In November 2018, after completing their analysis (you can access the full report here), Sustrans announced a new vision for the National Cycle Network: a UK-wide network of traffic-free walking and cycling paths, connecting cities, towns and countryside and loved by the communities they serve. This vision – “Paths for everyone” – has two priorities: to make the National Cycle Network safer and more accessible for everyone (including wheelchair users and horse riders, who use the Network as well). Currently, 12,225 km of the Network are of poor quality, as shown in the diagram below, mainly because significant amounts of the network are on roads. But Sustrans has concrete plans to improve those parts.

w660_10254653_181102ncnreviewreportgraphicsprint_ukrating

To deliver this vision, Sustrans will continue to work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders, according to carefully planned action plans. As custodian of the network, Sustrans will lead across five themes:

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The objective is thus to bring every kilometre of the network to a new quality standard by 2040. This standard will ensure path widths and surfaces are built for everyone, including those who face mobility challenges. A set of signing and wayfinding guidelines will also be developed in 2019 to set out how the Network should be signed and to achieve a consistent user experience on the Network. Find out more about Sustrans’ new quality standard here!

By 2040, Sustrans foresees that 34% of the Network will be on quiet ways and 66% on traffic-free paths. This means finding alternative ways for the 67% of the network currently on road. To make that possible, Sustrans has developed seven action plans with input from key stakeholders including local authorities, landowners and volunteers. The action plans show the current condition of the Network and the issues that need to be addressed in each area in order to improve the Network. To demonstrate immediate change, 50 activation projects will be delivered across the UK by 2023! See the action plans in detail here.

It is very high-quality work by ECF’s UK member. It includes walking and cycling, and therefore has implications for health and public health, transport, and more in addition to the important benefits for sustainable tourism”,
said Dr Rzewnicki, ECF Senior Health Expert.

Of course, these ambitious plans will require significant long-term investment. But Sustrans’ report also shows that the benefits will far outweigh the cost. With about 4.4 million users, £88 million saved through reduced road congestion and £2.5 billion contributed to local economies through leisure and tourism in 2017, there is no doubt that the National Cycle Network has a lot of positive impact on the economy. It passes through a diverse range of communities, including hundreds of local organisations, schools, employers, local businesses and community groups, as such, it is vital to the success of national and local government strategies to increase walking and cycling.

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The “Paths for everyone” vision indicates that, even after 23 years, the National Cycle Network still has its best years ahead of it.  ECF supports this ambitious vision and wishes Sustrans well in implementing it over the coming decades!

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Major new developments along EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route: Part 1 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/18/new-significant-developments-along-eurovelo-8-mediterranean-route/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/18/new-significant-developments-along-eurovelo-8-mediterranean-route/#comments Tue, 18 Dec 2018 09:04:40 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=12445 In the frame of the MEDCYCLETOUR (EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route) project, the partners from 7 different countries (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus) are improving their sections of the route by conducting four types of pilots. Discover two of them in this article!

These pilots include new signing with easily recognizable EuroVelo route information panels, the installation of counters along the route to monitor its use by cyclists and pedestrians, the organization of surveys to get some insights on how cyclists use the route and if they see any need for improvements, the development of intermodality schemes allowing cyclists to take their bike on busses or trains, and the setting up of national Cycling Friendly Services Networks including accommodation, tourist centers, restaurants, etc.

Ostiglia - Po river Ostiglia – Po River © Consorzio Oltrepo Mantovano

Some of those pilots have already been implemented in 2018, while others are currently being implemented and will be ready in the course of 2019. In this article, we will look at concrete examples for two of them: the signing in Andalusia and the counters and surveys in Catalonia. Make sure to stay tuned in January to learn about the other two pilots, namely the bike shuttles in Mantova (Italy) and the Cycling Friendly Services Network “Accueil Vélo” that has been set up in the French department of Alpes-Maritimes!

Signalization of EuroVelo routes

EV8_sign&

The Agency of Public Works of the Andalusian Government has designed a specific EuroVelo signalization to sign two sections of EuroVelo 8: one in Cadiz (72 km from Facinas to Torreguadiaro) and one in Almeria (94 km from Almería City to Carboneras). In total, 166 km of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route are thus being signed in Andalusia! The sections are displayed on the following maps:

EV8_Cadiz

EV8_Almeria

Depending on the types of trails and the existing signalisation, the approach to signing can vary. When possible, existing signs have been retrofitted with EuroVelo route information panels. But on traffic-free roads and cycle paths, new signs have been added. Here are the different kinds of signalisation that have been implemented:

  • Directional signs (as the tracks are bidirectional and signed in both directions);
  • Destination signs (indicating the next big city);EV8_sign2
  • Information on attractions and services situated not far from the route, including their direction and distance;
  • Information boards with maps and detailed information on EuroVelo generally and EuroVelo 8 in particular;EV8_signposting
  • QR codes to access further information.

Moreover, wooden detailed information panels about EuroVelo 8, in Spanish and English, can be found in National Parks:

signs3 Signs4 Sign5

If you still haven’t cycled the amazing trail of EuroVelo 8 in Andalusia, now is the time to go and follow the brand-new signing! The signing pilot is a popular one and it also being implemented by 6 other project partners: the Alpes Maritimes Department (France), the Croatian National Tourism Board, the Region of Western Greece, the Catalonia Region (Spain), the Consorzio Oltrepo Mantovano (Italy) and Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

Counters and Surveys along EuroVelo routes

Let us now turn to the counters and surveys pilot. We will look at the work done by the Catalonia Region in Spain. The Directorate General for Tourism of the Generalitat of Catalonia, with the help of the Girona Greenways Consortium (Consorci de les vies verdes), have installed two types of eco-counters along the route in Girona: a “PYRO-Box – People Counter” and a “MULTI Nature – Multi-Use Counter”. The objective is to acquire data on the kinds of users who take the EuroVelo 8 in Girona. Using this data will hopefully help influence the adoption of policies in favor of sustainable tourism in the region. The map below shows the situation of these counters:

Situació comptadors

The PYRO-Box Counter
The PYRO-Box Counter

The first model is a mobile and bidirectional counter allowing to count both cyclists and pedestrians passing close by, without having to differentiate between them. It uses a PYRO sensor that counts people passing within its range by detecting their body temperature. The fact that this counter is mobile will allow to move it depending on current interests.

The second model does differentiate between cyclists and pedestrians by using two types of sensors: the PYRO one (as in the PYRO-Box Counter) and a ZELT sensor with an inductive loop, which is installed under the surface of the trail. The inductive loop can detect bicycles passing or arriving at a certain point via the electric currents induced in the wire loops. This counter is thus a fixed one and is located in Caldes the Malavella. It has a GCM connection allowing AOPJA Andalusia to download the data from their office. It is also bidirectional and able to measure the direction of travel. See in the following pictures what the MULTI Nature Counter looks like:

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The Catalonia Region will also organise a survey with 600 interviews of 10 to 18 questions. The data collection will take place for 8 to 12 months and then be subject to data analysis in order to extract information on the profile and needs of the route’s users and their economic impact on the local community.

But Catalonia is not the only project partners to install counters along the route and to run survey among cycle tourists. AOPJA Andalusia, the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy), the Alpes Maritimes Department (France) and the Regional Development Center of Koper (Slovenia) also participate in this pilot.

We invite you to visit the MEDCYCLETOUR website to learn more about this project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and about the pilots that were not detailed in this article. Next month we will disclose the stories of the Bike Shuttle organised by the Consorzio Oltrepo Mantovano and of the Cycling Friendly Services “Accueil Vélo” in the Department of Alpes Maritimes! We are convinced that these investments, allowing the development not only of the route’s infrastructure but also of services intended for cycle tourists, will greatly improve EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route and make it a high-quality cycle route!

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Transnational agreement renewed for the promotion of EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/17/ltma-renewed-for-the-promotion-of-the-first-fully-certified-eurovelo-route/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/17/ltma-renewed-for-the-promotion-of-the-first-fully-certified-eurovelo-route/#comments Mon, 17 Dec 2018 08:25:29 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=12262 Frankfurt was the host destination for the annual Steering Committee meeting that took place on 16 November between partners of the EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route Long Term Management Agreement (LTMA).

As a part of the EU-funded Demarrage Project, eighteen partners from Germany, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands have cooperated closely to make EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route the first long distance cycle route to be certified in line with a new European standard. This transnational cooperation is one of the keys to the success of this route.

LTMA meeting View of the Rhine © F. Zvardon

After the completion of the project in 2014, partners along the route established an LTMA to continue their successful transnational cooperation and the partners agreed on appointing ECF as a secretariat. The objectives of the LTMA is to guarantee the competitiveness of the route as a top cycle tourism product by undertaking a number of transnational promotional activities (including web, press and social media, brochures, ITB trade show). Other key objectives include route infrastructure and transnational signposting coordination. After a period of 3 years (2015 – 2017), the partners agreed to extend the LTMA for at least 3 more years (2018 – 2020).

EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route is one of the most successful long distance cycle routes in Europe. According to our statistics, it attracts the highest number of visitors on the EuroVelo website. Moreover, the ADFC ranked it the 6th most popular long-distance cycle route in their 2018 Bicycle Travel Analysis.

Kinderdijk © Fietsplatform Ad Snelderwaard © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW e.V. ]]>
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2018 EuroVelo Year In Review http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/14/2018-eurovelo-year-in-review/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/14/2018-eurovelo-year-in-review/#comments Fri, 14 Dec 2018 08:58:15 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=12238 The end of the year is fast approaching, which provides a good opportunity to look back over what has been a successful year for EuroVelo. Big events, important network developments and new members shaped 2018. This is EuroVelo’s year in review.

New members and projects

At the beginning of this year, EuroVelo welcomed three new members to its network of National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs). With these new “recruits”, EuroVelo will improve the coordination, implementation, operation and quality assurance of EuroVelo routes in the three countries. In Wallonia and Brussels, the NECC role has been taken on by Pro Velo, in Greece the new NEC is Cities for cycling while in Hungary, the Ministry of National Development, Cycling Coordination Department will be the new NECC.

Two big initiatives were started this year. First, the COSME project related to EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route kicked off in April. The project aims to strengthen transnational cooperation in the development of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route as a transnational and cultural long-distance cycle route. This was closely followed by the launch of the French part of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route in June. The newly appointed president of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), Christophe Najdovski, made his first public appearance during the launch event.

Second, the ECO-CICLE project got underway in October with its first study visit and pilot project being implemented in Spain. The project aims to improve natural and cultural heritage policies by creating a European network for the promotion of cycle tourism in natural areas. The aim is to make bicycle the official sustainable transport to access natural heritage sites. This project will explore the possibility of creating a connection between EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route in Algarve and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Cadiz through the natural area of Doñana in Andalusia.

Growth of EuroVelo Management Team

The success of the EuroVelo network in the past year has also been reflected by the three new additions to the EuroVelo Management Team. In December last year, we welcomed Ernst Fahrenkrug as the new EuroVelo and Communications Assistant. Previously, he worked nine years as a senior copy editor and translator at a major media-monitoring agency. Likewise, in early 2018, Goran Lepen joined as EuroVelo’s Project Officer. He brings over six years of experience in managing EU funded projects. The newest member of our team, Florence Grégoire, will serve in the capacity of EuroVelo Communications Assistant. She was already interning with ECF and has previous experience in communications. We are excited at the growth of the team and we look forward to seeing the new members bring their experiences to the success of the network!

Developments and on-going projects

Throughout the year, several developments took place across the network. In France, over 30 public actors met in April to launch a steering committee for EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route that will focus on Normandy (where 85% of the itinerary is developed), Hauts-de-France (where it is developed at 45%) and the overall touristic identity of the route. In Ireland, the North West Greenway Network Project consists of three routes to be completed by 2022. Their development will result in a greenway network of approximately 126.5km in the North West. These routes will complement existing cycleways in the area, among which EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route. Successful consultation events were held in May and June for routes 1 and 2 amassing feedback from the community for the construction of the greenways. In Poland, the agreement for the construction of the Blue Velo Bicycle Route was signed in April during the Bicycle Metropolitan Forum being held in Wrocław. This 1000 km long route will follow the course of the Oder River from its source in the Czech Republic to its mouth at the Baltic coast and will form part of the EuroVelo 9 – Baltic-Adriatic.

There were 3 major ongoing projects during the year. In October, key meetings were held for Biking South Baltic! and AtlanticOnBike as well as the MEDCYCLETOUR project where partners reported their progress on similar pilot project preparations and implementations including signposting, bike+public transport, cycle friendly services and counter pilots. For instance, the counting system being implemented in Catalonia that registers the number of cyclists passing through on the route.

Big conferences

Back in June, Velo-city 2018 kicked off under the sunny skies of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. At this year’s conference, each of the four days featured a session on EuroVelo and/or cycle tourism. The other big event of the year was the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018. With more than 150 participants, was our biggest and most successful conference to date! Tourism and cycle tourism professionals from 30 different countries gathered in Limburg on 26-28 September for several plenary and parallel sessions. The programme included discussions on unique experiences and innovative ideas to improve cycle tourism in Europe. Photos taken during the conference can be found here. The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conferences have been held every other year since 2012 and the next one is planned for 2020.

The EuroVelo team wishes you an excellent end of the year and hopes to see even more people cycling, more often, on EuroVelo routes in 2019. Be sure to check out what we have already planned for next year!

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EuroVelo Dates For Your Diary 2019 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/11/eurovelo-dates-for-your-diary-2019/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/12/11/eurovelo-dates-for-your-diary-2019/#comments Tue, 11 Dec 2018 10:03:34 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=12151 As the year comes to an end, the European cycle route network is truly alive and kicking, ready to build on its successes for 2019! Here are some special dates to look forward to for next year.

6-10 March – ITB Berlin

The 2019 edition of ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, will be held once again at the Messe Berlin exhibition grounds on 6-10 March, 2019. In cooperation with ADFC (German National Cyclists’ Association), the ECF and EuroVelo will organise a Cycling Tourism Day on Friday, 8 March. Several panel discussions will be held on different occasions during the day about cycling and tourism topics.

The 2018 trade show marked the inauguration of the EuroVelo Cycle Tourism Awards. At last year’s ceremony, France was recognized as the most popular cycle tourism country meanwhile EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route claimed the title of the most popular EuroVelo Route in 2017.  It is going to be interesting to see who takes home the trophies this time!.

The ITB provides a great opportunity to meet both professional and members of the public interested in cycling tourism in Europe. Be sure to come join us at the ECF stand located in hall 4.1b Adventure Travel (booth no. 256) where we will also welcome visitors for a networking lunch from 12:30 on Friday 8th March as part of the Cycling Tourism Day.

18-19 March – European Certification Standard Training

The EuroVelo Route Inspectors Training Course, based on the European Certification Standard (ECS) for long distance cycle routes, will take place between 18th and 19th March at the ECF offices in Brussels (Belgium). The main purpose of the ECS is to officially certify EuroVelo routes such as the highly developed (and first fully certified route), EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route. The tool can also be used to survey and assess national route quality in terms of the level of development, safety and services provided.

The course consists of a 2-day training session on how to survey bicycle routes using the comprehensive methodology and software provided by ECF. While the course is tailored to survey EuroVelo routes, it is equally useful for national or regional cycle routes. Participants will be tested on what they have learned and, on condition that they pass, will receive an official EuroVelo Route Inspectors Diploma.

More information on how to register for the training will be provided at a later date.

25 April – UNESCO World Heritage and other Cultural Sites Workshop

On 25 April, EuroVelo will organise a workshop that will look at tackling the challenge of increasing demand for visits to cultural heritage sites by means of cars. The main issue stems from the fact that when too many visitors use their private cars to travel to these sites, they cause not only parking and space complications but also harm the location of the site itself. Therefore, the aim of the workshop is to identify, discuss and promote a behavioural change on this matter.

The workshop will be held at the World Heritage Site of Jelling in Kongernes Jelling, Denmark, known as the Home of the Viking Kings. This unique location allows visitors to explore Viking history and monuments in a truly immersive and interactive way and EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route passes by the front door!

Check out the event flyer for more info!

24 June – Annual NECC/Cs Meeting

Next year’s Annual National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs) Meeting will place on the 24 June in Dublin, Republic of Ireland just a day before ECF’s premier international cycling conference Velo-city 2019 kicks off in the same city.

The annual meeting is an opportunity for the National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs) to network with each other and share experiences and best practices. It also allows the ECF to present the latest developments in the central coordination of the EuroVelo network. The last meeting took place in Hasselt back in September 2018.

25-28 June – Velo-city 2019 Dublin

After more than a decade, Velo-city will be returning to Dublin on 25-28 June 2019. The city successfully hosted the conference back in 2005. The theme for next year’s Velo-City is ‘Cycling for the Ages’. This theme focuses on encouraging cycling by people of all ages and abilities, young and old, male and female as part of their daily transport and recreation. EuroVelo, route network development and cycling tourism are likely to feature strongly in the programme as in previous years.

Velo-city 2019 will be held in the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) located on the River Liffey. For more information please visit the official website.

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COSME project meeting concludes in the heart of France http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/28/cosme-project-meeting-concludes-in-the-heart-of-france/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/28/cosme-project-meeting-concludes-in-the-heart-of-france/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2018 11:04:55 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11767 All of the 8 regional project partners cooperating on the development of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route as a transnational and cultural long-distance cycle route gathered in Paris on 6-7 November for their second project meeting.

The COSME project, an 18 months long initiative, aims to strengthen transnational cooperation for the development of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route. The route takes cyclists on a 5,100 km long exploration of Europe’s famous pilgrims’ routes and religious buildings.

The main topics discussed during the meeting were:

  • Updating of the national action plans by each of the partners.
  • Presentation of ECF’s new web development to update the look of the current EuroVelo route websites and the methodology to develop tourist packages along the route.
  • Progress report on partners’ promotional activities (photoshoot, etc.)
  • Announcement of a workshop in collaboration with UNESCO and the cultural sites in Vejle (Denmark) on April 25, 2019.
  • Final Conference that will take place in Santiago on September 2019.
Group picture 20181106_091743 cof 20181107_092701

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and this project is funded by the European Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).

The ECF is one of the eight project partners from five different countries.

For more information on EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route visit our website.

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Andalusia hosts the 25th Anniversary of Spanish Greenways http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/27/andalusia-hosts-the-25th-anniversary-of-spanish-greenways/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/27/andalusia-hosts-the-25th-anniversary-of-spanish-greenways/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2018 15:39:49 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11771 Various national and international cycle tourism experts gathered in Seville on the 22-23 October 2018 for the “Conference 25th Anniversary Spanish Greenways”. The ECF was represented by EuroVelo’s Business Development Officer, Jesus Freire, who presented under the slogan of “Creando redes, uniendo fuerzas” (literally: “creating networks, uniting forces”) emphasizing the cooperation between Greenways (Vías Verdes) and EuroVelo as the basis of a future National Cycle Route Network and the results of numerous EuroVelo related projects that are being implemented in Spain.

Launched in 1993, the Spanish Greenways Programme aims to convert unused railway tracks into usable walking and cycling routes throughout the country. Since starting this project, over 2700 km of railway lines have been transformed into 125 greenways with itineraries covering the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the country. These greenways let travelers discover the rich Spanish cultural heritage in a healthy and sustainable way. All the greenways are marked by unique Vías Verdes signage and branding to provide route safety and tourist information.

In 1998, the influence of the programme reached beyond the Spanish boundaries with the formation of the European Greenways Association in Namur. The purpose of the EGWA is to promote and encourage the creation of similar greenways throughout the European continent. In June, they celebrated their 20th anniversary by organising an ‘experience exchange symposium’ featuring a gala evening and a visit by bike in Namur.

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The conference was opened with a presentation by the Ministry of Transport and Housing of Andalusia, Felipe López García. This Spanish region is a member of ECF’s Cities and Regions for Cyclists network which aims to establish a global network of cities which are working to promote bicycle use in urban areas and encourage the exchange of knowledge. Among the attendees were numerous other representatives of national and regional bodies of Spain such as the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Government of Navarre contributing with enthusiasm to the Greenways programme.

The conference closed with the signing of the “Declaration of Seville” outlining the joint initiatives required to keep developing the Spanish Greenways Network such as, for instance, through integration of the greenways and the EuroVelo network into a National Cycle Route Network.

Back in 2017, all the Spanish regions with EuroVelo routes gathered together to establish a National EuroVelo Coordination Centre for Spain. ConBici was appointed as the secretariat of this platform to work on EuroVelo and cycle tourism at national level.

It is evident that cycling tourism is booming in Spain. Public and private stakeholders are more aware of it than ever. The participants of the conference agreed on working at the national level on defining a National Cycle Route Network to help cycling become a more important part of the tourism sector.

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Algarve’s shoreline plays host to AtlanticOnBike partners’ meeting http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/27/algraves-shoreline-plays-host-to-atlanticonbike-partners-meeting/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/27/algraves-shoreline-plays-host-to-atlanticonbike-partners-meeting/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2018 10:39:57 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11737 The partners of the AtlanticOnBike project came together on 16-18 October in Faro, Portugal to report on their activities in their 3rd meeting. The AtlanticOnBike is a three-year project that aims to develop and promote a sustainable European tourism destination based on one of Europe’s most fascinating long-distance cycle routes, the EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route. The project intends to stimulate local economic growth by developing car free cycle tourism and attracting new visitors to the Atlantic Coast Area.

20 partners from seven different countries (Norway, UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium) gathered to discuss their current progress on project activities. The meeting agenda centered around the European Cyclists’ Federation’s coordinated effort to survey the route according the European Certification Standard (ECS) which is used to certify EuroVelo routes and, additionally, serves as a quality assessment tool for national or regional routes.

Group picture

Among the presentations by the ECF to the different partners was the new EuroVelo web development platform, which will refresh the look of the current EuroVelo route websites and further integrate them in the backend. Moreover, ECF also discussed the organized site visit to the route between Faro and the Spanish border. The key takeaway was that the Portuguese authorities plan to invest on the development of the route in the southern Algarve region. The route currently has areas offering great landscapes and traffic free segments (Eco-Vias), public roads with low traffic and great public transport connection (by train) along the section. However, there are some segments with heavy traffic and high speed that need to be addressed.

The project partners are scheduled to meet on 21-23 May next year in Norway to further discuss their activities.

According to statistics, EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route classifies as one of the favorite routes of the EuroVelo network and ranks as the 4th most visited route webpage. The continued good work from national and regional partners are the key to improving this transnational cooperation with plans to sign an eventual Long-Term Management Agreement (LTMA) for the route.

The project is co-funded by the EU Atlantic Area Interreg Programme. For more information about EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route visit www.eurovelo.com.

Atlantic-on-bike logoLogo_Interreg-Atlantic-Area_COLOREuroVelo 1 - Atlantic Coast Route

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Partners along the Mediterranean MEDCYCLETOUR meet in Izola http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/26/partners-along-the-mediterranean-medcycletour-meet-in-izola/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/11/26/partners-along-the-mediterranean-medcycletour-meet-in-izola/#comments Mon, 26 Nov 2018 15:46:22 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11719 The partners of the MEDCYCLETOUR project met on 4-5 October in Izola, Slovenia for their 4th steering committee meeting. MEDCYCLETOUR stands for “MEDiterranean Cycle route for sustainable coastal TOURism” and its focus is the development of the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. The overall objective of this project is to promote sustainable and responsible tourism in coastal areas across the Mediterranean, using the route to influence regional and national policies.

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The main points addressed during the meeting included the ECF’s coordination of the route survey according to European Certification Standard (ECS), which is set to be completed. The ECS is used to certify EuroVelo routes and, furthermore, serves as a quality assessment tool for national or regional routes. Additionally, the various partners provided progress updates on their activities and continue to work on their national and regional action plans. ECF also presented its new web development platform, which will refresh the look of current EuroVelo route websites and further integrate them in the backend, alongside, future actions covering different promotional activities such as attending the leading tourism travel show, the ITB in Berlin next year, the promotional brochure, etc.

Moreover, the partners presented the implementation of pilot projects along the route. The different types of pilots consist of EuroVelo route signage, usage monitoring systems and cycle friendly services. For instance, the counting system being implemented in Catalonia that registers the number of cyclists passing through on the route.

20181004 Koper Izola 20181004 Koper Izola

The ECF is one of 10 partners from 7 different countries. The project also includes 8 associated partners. The project has a budget of over €2.5 million and it will finish in the very beginning of 2020 with an international conference and the signing of a Long-Term Management Agreement (LTMA) for the EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route.

MECYCLETOUR is co-financed by the INTERREG MED Programme. To find out more about the MedCycleTour, please visit the project’s website.

And for more information about cycling along EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route, please visit our website.

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Successful kick-off for a sustainable project! http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/25/11431/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/25/11431/#comments Thu, 25 Oct 2018 13:56:06 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11431 The kick-off meeting of the ECO-CICLE project started on Monday 8 October in Huelva, Spain, and two members of the EuroVelo Management team went to this beautiful Andalusian region to take part. Read this short report to discover how this project, which aims to make bicycle the official sustainable transport to access natural heritage, was officially launched!

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The County Council of Huelva, lead partner in the project, organized the first day as a study-visit for the participants to two locations. The first was the construction site of the pilot project along the Rio Tinto. In this pilot project, the first 5km of the old railroad tracks will be transformed into a cycling route, and through the following years, a cycling route of approximately 100km should be built along the whole length of the river Rio Tinto. More information about this fascinating greenway is available here.

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After lunch, the participants visited Puerto de la Laja on the Spanish-Portuguese border (see the exact location), where they had the opportunity to try e-bikes and ride some 10km on the Via Verde del Bajo Guadiana. Here is a short video footage of what it looked like:

On the second day, the County Council of Huelva organized an opening conference with a keynote presentation from the local sport icon: Pedro Delgado. He is a former professional road bicycle racer from Segovia. The peak of his career was when he won the Tour de France in 1988, and the Vuelta a España in 1985 and 1989. Pedro Delgado works now as a sports commentator for Televisión Española during important cycling events.

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Jesus Freire, Business Development Officer at ECF and member of the EuroVelo team, held a presentation on the topic of Cycle Tourism. A presentation on the topic of the AtlanticOnBike project (EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route) was also held, addressing the EuroVelo 1 route which passes through the area of Huelva. The ECO-CICLE project will indeed allow to create a connection between EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route in Algarve and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in Cadiz through the natural area of Doñana in Andalusia.

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The third and fourth days were for the project partners only and were dedicated to address and plan operational topics of the ECO-CICLE project. The lead partner and all of the project partners agreed that the next project meeting will be held in April 2019, in the Polish city of Torun.

ECO-CICLE_Conference_Photo attendees

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Indian summer on Danish coast for Biking South Baltic! partners http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/19/indian-summer-on-danish-coast-for-biking-south-baltic-partners/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/19/indian-summer-on-danish-coast-for-biking-south-baltic-partners/#comments Fri, 19 Oct 2018 13:30:39 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11410 In early October, the partners in the Biking South Baltic! project met in autumnal sunshine in Rødvig on Denmark’s Baltic Sea coast to catch up on the latest activities and to plan for the remaining 14 months of the project. 

There was much to catch up on since the previous meeting in Kołobrzegin, Poland:

  • The initial findings of the surveys of users that had been undertaken over the summer months in Poland, Denmark and Germany. The questions were based on a common methodology that has been developed together with partners in the MEDCYCLETOUR (EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route) and AtlanticOnBike (EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route) projects.  A full report will be published over the coming months.
  • A database of tourism attractions along the section of the route covered by the project has been developed for tourism professionals.
  • Preparations continue on a long-term strategy of route development, visualisation and promotion. This will incorporate the findings of the user surveys and the route surveys and action plans that were produced by each of the partners earlier in the project.

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There is still lots to be done over the coming year, including:

  • Further cooperation with tour operators (package preparation)
  • Study tours – planned dates and potential participants
  • Presentation at the ITB Berlin 2019 and Velo-city 2019 in Dublin.
  • Promotion of the BikingSouthBaltic! ‘movie’, which is nearing completion
  • Launch of the new EuroVelo 10 – Baltic Sea Cycle Route transnational website.

The project partners were joined by representatives of Kłajpeda Municipality in Lithuania (an associated partner of the project), who were keen to find out more information about the activities in the project and the possibilities for closer cooperation.

The meeting took place in the beautiful Rødvig Kro & Badehotel, which is located directly on the route of EuroVelo 10 – Baltic Sea Cycle Route and has been certified as being cyclist-friendly by the ADFC’s Bett+Bike system.

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Following the meeting the participants had the opportunity to cycle some of the local sections of the route to visit Stevns Klint, which has recently been added to the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.  This geological site comprises a 15 km-long fossil-rich coastal cliff, offering exceptional evidence of the impact of the Chicxulub meteorite that crashed into the planet at the end of the Cretaceous, about 65 million years ago. Plans are underway to make the site more accessible by bike and take advantage of the fact that an international cycle route passes its entrance.

Cliffs

Learn more about the Biking South Baltic! project here.

Biking-South-Baltic!-logo-flat Compound logo with with ERDF screen

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Last speakers of the afternoon plenary – Adam Bodor & Josep Rodriguez http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/last-speakers-of-the-afternoon-plenary-adam-bodor-josep-rodriguez/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/last-speakers-of-the-afternoon-plenary-adam-bodor-josep-rodriguez/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 10:56:18 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11325 The afternoon plenary continued with presentations from Adam Bodor, Advocacy and EuroVelo director at the European Cyclists’ Federation, and Josep Rodriguez, European projects manager at the Barcelona Provincial Council. They focused on cycle tourism at the European and regional levels.

Adam Bodor first presented tourism in Europe as a booming business, and cycling tourism as a truly sustainable success story. He presented the main challenges that Europe is currently facing: economic, societal and environmental challenges.

Afternoon plenary_Adam Bodor (1)

“It is a big question, where Europe is going.”

But cycling tourism is already among the big players within the tourism industry. The cycling tourism industry is worth 44 billion euros, which is even more than the cruising industry, worth 39.4 billion euros. Moreover, cycling tourism provides tools to help with the three main challenges mentioned above: it helps local SMEs, helps to create local employment and local tax incomes, reduces CO2 emissions and deconcentrates the tourism flow.

Adam then showed the “wheel of cycle tourism development” to explain the different factors involved in the development of cycle tourism. In particular, it is very important to bring proper infrastructure in order to attract cycle tourists, especially the more demanding ones such as families and elderly people. This requires investment.

Adam also gave two good examples among the EuroVelo routes: the new EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route that crosses Limburg and is currently being signposted, and EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route for which more investment is leading to better development of the route.

Afternoon plenary_Adam Bodor (5)

Last speaker of the day, Josep Rodriguez presented the South of Europe point of view, and especially the field of cycle tourism in Catalonia. First, he presented NECSTour, the Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism.

Afternoon plenary_Josep Rodriguez (2)

He then talked about EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route, financed by the MEDCycleTour Interreg project, which goes through Catalonia. This route has a historical meaning in Catalonia, as it follows the route that the Romans took, a long time ago. A part of EuroVelo 8 is called Pirinexus in Catalonia. It is a transborder route that connects the province of Girona in Catalonia, with the Vallespir, in the Northern Catalonia, territory of France.

Josep also presented some other long-distance routes in Catalonia, which can be accessed from EuroVelo 8: Via InterCatalunya and Via Verde de la Val de Zafan. Another new project is the Blue Ways (#viesblaves). It is a network of cycle paths that will go along the main rivers in the province.

Josep concluded: “Many times, the bike is an excuse. What people want is to arrive at a nice destination, to taste local gastronomy, etc. This is a good opportunity for us.”

Afternoon plenary_Josep Rodriguez (4)

At the end of the session, Marcio Deslandes, Velo-city director at the ECF, came on stage to invite all participants of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference to attend Velo-city 2019 in Dublin. Abstract submission is open until 22 October 2018 for Velo-city 2019.

Watch the trailer of Velo-city 2019 here to give you a foretaste of the event!

Afernoo plenary_Marcio Deslandes (2)

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Alla Peressolova, speaker in the afternoon plenary session http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/alla-peressolova-speaker-in-the-afternoon-plenary-session/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/alla-peressolova-speaker-in-the-afternoon-plenary-session/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 10:34:29 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11317 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference’s formal programme ended with a very interesting plenary on cycle tourism. Four speakers took the stage in just one hour, talking about the legendary Silk Route, the future of cycle tourism in Europe and the cycle routes of the Barcelona Province, with a surprise guest at the end of the session. In this article we will talk about the first speaker of this session: Alla Peressolova.

Alla Peressolova is the former head of the UNWTO Silk Road Project. As such, she began by reminding the attendees that 27 September was the World Tourism Day, putting this year an emphasis on digital transformation. She gave a very complete presentation tackling the economic impact of tourism, global tourism trends, the growth of transnational themed routes, the challenges and lessons of the Silk Road and in opportunities opened by the Western Silk Road initiatives, in particular for cycle tourism.

Nowadays, tourism matters more than ever because it generates one out of ten jobs in the world. And projects such as the Silk Road can bring jobs in remote areas as well. Moreover, one of the strongest trends in tourism currently, and especially in the cycle tourism world, is the shift from service industry to experience industry. Tourists are looking for unique experiences, golden moments during their journeys. This is why theme-based tourism is a good alternative to traditional tourism.

Afternoon plenary_Alla Peressolova (5)

“Authenticity becomes one of the competitive competences in the tourism market.”

The EuroVelo routes are also theme-based tourism routes and fit very well in this new model. Alla advised people interested in this topic to have a look at the Handbook on Marketing Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes from the European Travel Commission.

She then turned to transnational initiatives. What makes them work? They require a lot of cooperation efforts, a grassroots movement from bottom to top and the involvement of local communities. Administrative and cultural challenges can arise, but if the story is strong enough, as with the Silk Road, transnational routes can be very successful.

Afternoon plenary_Alla Peressolova (9)

“I will talk about the most important route in the history of mankind: the Silk Road. It has this romantic and adventurous feeling.”

The Silk Road, it is 100,000 km of routes, 34 involved countries and a multitude of partners forming the Silk Road task force. Many factors attract tourists to the Silk Road: its long history, its connection to countless epic adventures, and its way into the mysterious huge countries of central Asia… But marketers have found out that the main drive of the Silk Road is actually the appeal of exotic foods along the route!

The Silk Road can be divided in two: the ‘Classic Silk Road’ and the ‘Western Silk Road’, for which new initiatives are financed by the European Commission in the frame of the Western Silk Road Tourism Development Initiative. In particular, there has been a cycling project along the Western Silk Route in Italy: the Silk Cycle Route, which is currently looking for Italian partners interested in reviving this route. To get involved, the person to contact is Paolo Baraldi –  p.baraldi@vacanzattiva.it.

Afternoon plenary_Alla Peressolova (13)

You can find more details in the full presentation of Alla Peressolova, which will be available on the Conference’s website. Here was her conclusion at the end of the Conference’s day:

“At this Conference, I felt the existence of a global community in the cycle tourism world.”

Afternoon plenary_Alla Peressolova (1)

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Highlights – Perfect companions: cycle tourism and public transport http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-perfect-companions-cycle-tourism-and-public-transport/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-perfect-companions-cycle-tourism-and-public-transport/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 10:23:49 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11312 This session looked at how cycle tourism could connect to wider mobility networks. Research has shown that cyclists are more likely to choose public transport for their day-trips and/or reach their holiday destinations compared to the average tourist. Unfortunately however, it is often far from easy to combine different modes currently in Europe. 

The four speakers gave some good practice examples that prove that it does not have to be that complicated.

Martin Bethge started by presenting the work of Flixbus, the coach company which provides many connections across Europe with bicycle carriage.  Martin explained that as well as the environmental benefits of installing racks, on an increasing number of routes it makes economic sense as well.

Joeri de Visser, the Product Manager at Blue-mobility, looked at how tourism can help improve the service of shared-bike schemes. At the moment such schemes are underused during the evenings and at the weekend and so Joeri explained that Blue-bike, the national shared-bike scheme of Belgium, would like to unlock the potential offered by touristic use.

Bernard De Groote, CEO of Mobit Belgium, presented another form of bike-sharing – this time with station-less bikes.  As well as providing a useful tool for cycle tourist the Mobit platform will create a unique source of data which will be valuable to tourism bodies.

Session F_Bernard De Groote (3)

“Let’s digitalize bicycle renting!”

The final speaker was Daniel Mourek from the Czech National EuroVelo Coordination Centre, Nadace Partnerství. Daniel presented the user experience of combing cycling and public transport. He considered what influences user’s choice of transport mode and identified measures that could encourage more people to combine cycling and public transport. In particular, he mentioned how important it is for cycle tourists to have the opportunity of taking a bike in the train. As a result, train and bus stations should be signposted on all EuroVelo routes.

Session F_Daniel Mourek (6)

Throughout the session there were lots of questions for the speakers and there were 10 mins after the final speaker where the audience could share their view on how we can increase the number of good practices in the years to come.

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Highlights: Effective cycle-network management http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-effective-cycle-network-management/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-effective-cycle-network-management/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 10:17:30 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11305 Maintaining and improving cycle networks is a crucial task in cycle tourism. Session E on “Effective Cycle-Network Management” provided an overview on important ingredients of this activity, such as infrastructure, the users, managing organizations, culture and the economy.

Session E_Harald Kuhn (1)

At a concrete level, Harald Kuhn, Product Manager Smart Mobility at Heijmans, introduced the Dutch company’s “philosophy” of making cycle paths “more fun, more comfortable and safer.” In this context, he presented the three main innovations from Heijmans: the Van Gogh cycle path (more fun), the asphalt solution Recoflex Vélo (more comfortable and sustainable) and the Bikescout system (safer). In addition to the artful images from the Van Gogh cycle path which gives visitors the impression of cycling through a picture – “where history meets the future” – many participants in the session were interested in the Bikescout system, which has contributed to an enormous decline in accidents involving cyclists.

Session E_Harald Kuhn (5)

There were then two speakers from Belgium who provided two best-practice examples of cycle network management in Belgium. Monica Silvestrini, coordinator of the Mobility Department at the Belgian Province of Limburg, explained processes of quality monitoring of the tourist cycle network Limburg. She took a general approach in describing the elaborate quality-monitoring-related activities of the province, local communities and Limburg Tourism. Eveline Sierens, Team Manager of the Province of Antwerp’s Tourism Department, provided details on the interactive platform EasyGIS that helps her organization manage the 8,000 kilometers of recreational routes in the province of Antwerp. The major asset of EasyGIS is the possibility to optimize communication between the different stakeholders and to increase the cyclists’ satisfaction by enabling easy communication.

Session E_Monica Silvestrini (2)

Another important element of cycle network management is the integration of cultural highlights. Mercedes Muñoz Zamora, director of the European Greenways Association, an international not-for-profit association that encourages the creation and promotion of greenways in Europe, presented examples of promoting greenways and connecting them to UNESCO heritage sites. Greenways are non-motorized routes that are safe, accessible and user-friendly, for all kinds of users. Most are based on disused railways and canal towpaths and so provide easy access to places of great beauty, often in mountainous areas, through tunnels and over viaducts. Mercedes showed examples involving the use of innovative technologies to better inform greenways visitors and improve their experience.

Finally, Richard Weston, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Central Lancashire, in the School of Business and Enterprise, explained how the economic impact of a route can be estimated. Not an easy task! Weston provided an overview of the variety of methodologies that have been developed to estimate the economic impact so far, and proposed a common methodological framework. However, the details will not be available before the next Velo-city in Dublin. One more reason to visit this international cycling conference next year!

The presentations of this session will soon be available online on the Conference’s website.

Session E_Ernst Fahrenkrug

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Highlights: Developing experiences, the future of cycle tourism products http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-developing-experiences-the-future-of-cycle-tourism-products/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-developing-experiences-the-future-of-cycle-tourism-products/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 10:08:05 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11210 Five international expert shared during the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018’s the best practices on developing cycle tourism experiences that meet a demanding market: unique experiences. In this post, you will find out more about the key factors to develop cycle tourism products, the latest developments of the candidates EuroVelo route EuroVelo 14 – Waters of Central Europe in Hungary and EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route in Netherlands, developing the UK National Cycle Route Network and the opportunities that the market offer for the development of cycle tourism in Belgium.

Session D_Questions (2)

Carlos Martin Ruiz, Senior Consultant at Bikefriendly (Spain) shared with the participants the 5 keys for developing successful cycle tourism products and their experience in Spain: territorial specialization, specialization of the local private cycle tourism sector, network of complementary activities and services, adequate promotion of the bikefriendly destination and commercialization ecosystem. ‘The key is the coverage of the entire value chain’ Carlos said during his presentation.

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Miklós Berencsi, head of the Cycling Coordination Department in the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Hungary, shared with the participants the latest development along the EuroVelo candidate route: EuroVelo 14 – Waters of Central Europe in Hungary, the transnational dimension of the route (involving Austria and in the future other neighboring countries). Hungary is a leading cycling nation (in terms of national cycling modal share but also investment!). ‘EuroVelo 14 – Waters of Central Europe will be a great addition to the EuroVelo network’ Miklós said during his presentation.

Will Haynes is Infrastructure Director at Sustrans (United Kingdom). He presented the English National Cycle Network, the development of which began in 1985 with only 1960 km realised. In 2018, there are 26,560 km of routes in the network! The National Cycle Network is very diversified and tourists can often admire art on the side of the route. ‘The National Cycle Network is probably the largest collection of outdoor artwork in the UK’, said Will. He also talked about the four EuroVelo routes that run through the UK: EuroVelo 1, 2, 5 and 12. For the future, the objectives of Sustrans are to move the cycle routes to car-free routes, but also to develop more experience-based routes, similar to the Limburg ones. For instance, there is already a ‘Walking and cycling underground’ route in the UK, as well as – surprisingly – a ‘Walking and cycling in the air’ route!

Session D_Will Haynes (1)

Marie Secrétant is Head of Tourism and Events at Pro Vélo in Belgium. She presented study results about cycle tourism in Belgium and in the neighboring countries. In particular, she showed statistics on the behavior of cycling travelling tourist, which are very useful for tour providers and cycling events organizers. She concluded: ‘We believe that it is an opportunity for us, because at the moment there is no other tour operator focusing on Wallonia’.

Session D_ Marie Secrétant (3)

Erik Nijland is director of the Dutch Fietsplatform since its founding in 1987. The task of the Fiestplatform is to coordinate the Dutch National Cycle Network. In The Netherlands there are important developments ongoing such as restructuring the long distance cycle route network, new labeling and signposting. ‘The Dutch cycle nodes network comprises almost 33,000 km with over 9,000 crossing points’ Eric said.

Session D_Eric Nijland (2)

 

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Highlights: Communicating the cycle tourism experience http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-communicating-the-cycle-tourism-experience/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-communicating-the-cycle-tourism-experience/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 09:49:04 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11208 Five international expert shared during the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 the top innovations on communicating and promoting the cycle tourism experience in Europe and beyond. In this post, you will find out more about ‘Cycling in Flanders Project’, how to use social media, marketing strategies for long distance cycle routes, using software innovations and Israel Bike Trail.

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During about 90 minutes, five international experts and over 50 delegates had the opportunity to exchange best practices on communicating the cycle tourism experience. Dries Verclyte, Project Manager at Visit Flanders, shared with the participants in the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference the innovations when promoting and communicating ‘Cycling in Flanders’. Dries highlighted how international visitors are targeted by using Flander’s well known (cycling) culture: sport cycling, cobblestones, Eddy Merckx and of course… beer! Flanders’ cycle route network comprises over 1,200km of long distance cycle routes and a cycle node network of over 1,300km. Would you like to know more about what a visitor can experience when visiting Flanders? Check out www.cyclinginflanders.cc.

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Focusing on social media, Jeroen Peeters (Online Coordinator of Toerisme Limburg) shared with the participants of the session how social media can make the difference when promoting a destination. Taking into account the strong competition between destinations, Jeroen highlighted the need to be ‘unique’. In order to become successful on social media, a destination has to offer a ‘unique experience’ (in the case of Limburg, an extraordinary cycle route network, unique cycle experiences and scenic routes). Furthermore, Jeroen mentioned how important it is to make it easy for your audience to share their experiences (#AltijdLimburg).

Dany Heck, Deputy Manager Director of the East Belgian Tourism Agency explained how the use of an innovative software solution for planning your route can improve the experience of the visitors who choose the bicycle in order to discover East Belgium. Dany used as an example how thanks to this route planned, the user is able to receive up to date data (e.g. hunting season and route deviations). Putting technology at the service of the users can transform the experience and avoid last minute surprises!

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One of our international experts came from the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. Hillell Sussman (Project Manager at Israel Bike Trail) presented this nation-wide project and the innovative involvement of volunteers on its development. Furthermore, taking into account the challenges of the territory (arid areas), a detailed web site that also collects users feedback is the main promotional tool of this ambitious project. Open almost all year long (weather conditions are excellent while in Europe it is winter), could Israel become a leader cycle tourism destination? It seems they are on the right pace!

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“It was very difficult for us to make the desert friendly, but we made it friendly!”

He also showed the trailer of the Israel Bike Trail:

Last but not least, Fong Choo Leong (Cycle Tourism Officer at ADFC) shared the perspective from a mature cycle tourism market (Germany) on marketing strategies of long distance cycle routes. Focused mainly on the numerous national cycle tourism market, Choo shared with the participants that Germany has over 250 long distance cycle routes, experienced travelers and a strong internal competition. In order to reach successful results, Choo recommended the ingredients to the German success: cross-cutting themes, events, campaigns and cooperation. Did you know that 10% turnover in the tourist industry in Germany comes from cycle tourism?

FCL1

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Highlights: Cycle highways and cycle tourism – is there a synergy? http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-cycle-highways-and-cycle-tourism-is-there-a-synergy/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-cycle-highways-and-cycle-tourism-is-there-a-synergy/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 09:33:16 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11281 The cycle highway session on the EuroVelo and cycle tourism conference focused on identifying synergies between cycle highways and cycle tourism. Adam Bodor, ECF Advocacy and EuroVelo Director, opened the session with stressing the importance of good quality cycling infrastructure for the development of cycle tourism.

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Bert Celis, co-founder of, and Innovation Manager at the Flanders’ Bike Valley started his presentation with the vision of cycle highways as backbones of cycling networks and important component of mobility system in 2030.

“Our dream is that in 2030 you will see a lot of cycle highways. We also see a lot of hubs coming.”

He predicted a growing role of speed-pedelecs, 200 times more efficient than electric cars and significantly extending the range of cycling. He followed with presenting a variety of activities carried out in the Cycle Highways Innovation for smarter People Transport and Spatial Planning (CHIPS) project. Flanders’s Bike Valley together with diverse project partners from North-Western Europe (including ECF) organises Cycle Highway Academies to gather professionals working in the area, exchange experiences, ideas and latest developments. Another example of a CHIPS product is Maturity Assessment Tool, a set of 20 criteria evaluating different aspects of cycle highway’s quality, such as cohesion, lack of interruptions, sheltering, services or social safety, on four levels each.

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Monica Silvestrini, coordinator of the Mobility Department at the Province of Limburg, presented her experiences in working with municipalities on implementing cycle highway network in the Province. She started with the observation that both cycle highways and touristic networks need to meet the same set of criteria: cohesion, safety, comfort, attractiveness and directness, with only slightly adjusted priorities. Developing routes that can fulfil both roles can increase the return on investments. Monica gave concrete examples of how this is put into practice: cycling bridge across canal lock in Godsheide in Hasselt (link of cycle highways F72 and F702), improvements on cycle highways F74 (“Railwayline 18”) or F5 (“Route canal Albert”). Many cycle highways lead along existing line infrastructures such as canals and (former) railways, through quiet and often rural environments, offering both safe and enjoyable riding experience.

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Bart Jansen from Witteveen+Bos presented “Cycle Highway Accelerator” – a design tool for evaluating different route options using a web-based portal. “By making sure that new bicycle highways meet ambitious design requirements, they will attract more cyclist” – was one of the observations motivating the development of the tool. The accelerator works by combining different datasets and programs, includes risk analysis regarding permits, land acquisition and utility infrastructure, conformity with design requirements and cost.

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Aleksander Buczyński, ECF Infrastructure Officer, concluded the session with a presentation of the lobbying work that ECF does on the European Road Infrastructure Safety Management (RISM) framework and the latest developments regarding the update of the RISM directive. He showed examples of good and bad practice on the Trans-European (TEN-T) road network, explaining how they are affecting cycle highways or cycle tourism, and how better RISM could help the development of both. Integrating elements of cycling infrastructure in big road construction projects could significantly reduce the implementation costs of routes for active mobility.

Aleksander praised the general direction of the recently published European Commission’s proposal of amending the RISM directive, but also listed several tweaks still necessary to change the road safety perspective from driver-only to all road users. “Many Member States lack the knowledge on how to consider the needs of cyclists. EU level guidance, including minimum quality standards, is necessary, to avoid wasting public money on infrastructure that is not safe for cyclists” – he concluded.

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Highlights – Blazing a trail: Innovation in cycle tourism http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-blazing-a-trail-innovation-in-cycle-tourism/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/highlights-blazing-a-trail-innovation-in-cycle-tourism/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 09:25:04 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11273 All the presentations in this session were linked to the theme for this year’s Conference: “Experiencing the Unique”.  It brought together examples of innovation in different fields, from governance to communication, which enable visitors to enjoy unforgettable experiences on two wheels. These. 

The session begin with Wolfram Hinnenthal, the Managing Director of ADFC’s Bett + Bike – the successful cycle friendly service scheme.  Wolfram explained that the platform now has over 5,800 hotels, guesthouses, youth hostels and campsites that meet the ADFC quality criteria.  He used the EuroVelo and Cycling Tourism Conference to launch an English-language version of the website to appeal to international travels.

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Wolfram was followed by Bart Gregoor, the founder and “véloromantiseur” of Café Coureur, a Belgian based bicycle shop, café and cycling events organiser. In his entertaining presentation Bart gave five pieces of advice based on his experience in developing Café Coureur but which had wider relevance for tourism destinations and route operators.

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From service providers, the session then moved to new tools for cycle tourists. Johan Vanswijgenhoven, Project Manager at Click & Bike, explained how they have developed a tablet that can be placed on the handlebars of bicycles containing information about routes, points of interest, bike repair shops etc. Their first solution was incorporated onto their own bicycle – the Kingo SmartBike – but they hope that future models can be open to use on all models.

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Eveline Sierens presented a digital route platform that the Tourism Department at the Province of Antwerp have recently launched, which enables users to design their own tours based on the extensive cycle network that exists in the province.  The same tool can also be used by tourist attractions and service providers to promote themselves and generate their own proposals for routes.

Moving on to a different, but equally important, area of cycle tourism development Camille Perretta gave a presentation on the development of innovative governance models in the frame of “La Méditerranée à Vélo” (the section of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route in France). Developing a product based on a long distance cycle route that crosses the boundaries of several public authorities can sometimes be very complicated but Camille presented the steps that they have taken in the south of France to achieve that, aiming to create more cycling through better governance.

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A very successful practice is to organise cycle rides on the route, such as the famous “Plus Belle La Voie”, a 600-km bike ride which took place this year from 6 to 22 September. It gave a big boost to the EuroVelo 8 in France. The development of bike-friendly services along the route is also very important.

“We took the opportunity of this ride to gather all partners and focus on signing what needed to be signed.”

The ‘headliner’ of the session was Paul Cheese, a musician, sound artist, producer, singer, songwriter and cyclist. In a completely unique intervention Paul explained how in April this year, he cycled 2650 km (carrying 45kg of musical equipment) along Eurovelo routes 11, 8, 5, 7 through Greece and Italy capturing the sound of fantastic locations along the way – and creating the first song for his new album.  It was a perfect example of how to think outside the box to reach new audiences and how to approach marketing campaigns differently.

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“I use cycling as inspiration for my song writing. My goal is to get children and adults to listen to the world differently. So I ask: what is the soundtrack of your adventure?”

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Adventurous bikepacker Josh Ibbett http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/adventurous-bikepacker-josh-ibbett/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/adventurous-bikepacker-josh-ibbett/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 09:08:35 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11263 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference’s morning plenary session featured 4 speakers, who gave three presentations all very different from each other. Josh Ibbett gave the attendees some tips in case they would like to start their own bike packing journey, explaining how he does it himself.

In his well-illustrated presentation, Josh Ibbett explained what bike packing is, what he packs for his journeys, where he rides, what he eats and where he sleeps. He showed the diversity of forms that a bike packing journey can take, going from rather comfortable trips including stays in hostels and meals at restaurants, to hardcore ones with as few luggage as possible. When he won the 3rd Transcontinental Race, cycling from Flanders to Istanbul in just under 10 days, Josh brought only 12.5 kg of luggage and used to sleep in dumps with only his sleeping bag, and to eat at gas stations. But he doesn’t advise anyone to go for such extreme traveling!

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“You can pretty much survive for 10 days with that amount of stuff… But it’s not the most hygienic, you smell rather bad at the end of it.”

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“This is probably the most common view of me cycling: standing outside a gas station or local shop and shoving cookies in my face.”

Josh Ibbett also did a 5-month bike packing trip around the world in 2017, which took him through Europe, Canada, North America and Mexico. This was another experience altogether for him, as you cannot approach a 5-month journey the same way you approach a 10-days race – it becomes a way of life, rather than an exhausting and quick journey. Josh had brought on stage the bike his used on that trip, to show us how he had packed for 5 months. He was full of stories and anecdotes about the places he visited and the people he met.

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“When you cycle everywhere, an important factor is eating. I quite like eating… It’s quite nice to experience the local cultures, to eat what local people eat”.

His presentation was full of humor…

“I spent 4 months in America, cycling every single day, and I came back from America the heaviest I have ever been.”

He also cycled in Morocco and witnessed amazing views:

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“We arrived there in the dark. When we woke up we saw the mountains in the morning. It’s a very rewarding experience.”

Many good memories, but some hard times as well!

“One time, I ended up in the middle of the desert, which was… interesting. I didn’t have enough water with me. I survived, but it was an interesting experience.”

Plenary 3_Josh Ibbett (3)

The full presentation of Josh Ibbett at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference will soon be available on the Conference’s website.

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Keynote speakers Dries and Yuri http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/keynote-speakers-dries-and-yuri/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/keynote-speakers-dries-and-yuri/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 08:56:53 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11257 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference’s morning plenary session featured 4 speakers, who gave three presentations all very different from each other. Dries Henau & Yuri Vandenbogaerde explained the genesis of their unusual and successful shops WASBAR and Chez Claire, as well as some good practices for marketing.

Keynote speakers Dries and Yuri gave a presentation that was radically different from the one given by the previous speaker, Ward Segers. First of all, they did not talk about cycling at all. But they gave a very motivational talk, explaining how their crazy ideas came about and became so successful.

Their first big project was WASBAR. Tired of having to do their laundry in grey and depressing places, they decided to launch a new kind of wash-house, full of color and very design, where people could eat and drink. They wanted to make the lonely laundry time into a social happening. They friends and family called them crazy, saying that nobody would want to wash their dirty clothes in public, but WASBAR quickly become a huge success. There are now WASBAR shops in Ghent, Antwerpen and Kortijk.

Then, during a trip to Paris, Dries and Yuri visited an éclair shop but thought that something was missing. They decided to come up with their own éclair shop in Belgium, a beautiful place where people could also sip a glass of champagne at any time of the day.

Dries and Yuri explained:

  • About the éclair shop in Paris

Dries: “The texture of the product was really nice, but we missed something…”

Yuri: “Love. We missed some love in the shop. So Claire came to life. She is not a real person; she is our life, she exists in our heads.”

“We wanted to create a place where you can indulge for a minute.”

Dries and Yuri even came up with an imaginary story for Claire. This former model from Paris used to spend all her time in her kitchen baking, and her friends kept coming over because they wanted to taste her delicious éclairs all the time. So Claire decided to open her own éclair shop, a beautiful and colorful place, where everyone feels welcomed.

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But Dries and Yuri have also learned a lot of good practices from these experiences. They resumed them in 6 points that can inspire anyone who is in charge of marketing a product:

  1. Beautiful things make people happy
  2. Keep it really really really simple
  3. Everybody loves a good story
  4. Live fast (but try not to die young)
  5. Go for the extra (s)mile
  6. Trust your gut feeling

At the end of the morning plenary session, Dries and Yuri were asked what comes to their mind when they hear the words ‘cycle tourism’. Here is Yuri’s answer:

“Storytelling is very important in tourism. Josh Ibbett (see this article) got me motivated to buy a bike and just get out there, so I think he can inspire other people too!”

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Dries and Yuri’s presentation at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference will be available soon on the Conference’s website.

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Ward Segers, first plenary speaker of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/ward-segers-first-plenary-speaker-of-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/ward-segers-first-plenary-speaker-of-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 08:36:53 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11251 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference’s morning plenary session featured 4 speakers, who gave three presentations all very different from each other. Ward Segers, project coordinator at Toerisme Limburg, introduced the cycle node network in Limburg and explained how it is adding new experiences.

Ward Segers’ presentation about the cycle node network in Limburg aroused a lot of interested among the participants, who had many questions to ask him afterwards. He took a historical perspective, explaining with some pictures that people used to drive cars a lot in Limburg. Bike lanes were badly maintained, and until 1994 few people were riding a bicycle for their daily journeys.

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But after the closing of the coal mines (the coal mine of Zolder was closed in 1992 as the last Belgian mine), things began to change. One man in particular brought the change: Hugo Baur, who had the idea to create a cycle node network, with overview maps at each node and a connection to the town center, so that everything would be connected and people could easily leave from home and go on a cycling trip. Moreover, new cycle paths were created, to enable cyclists to ride on car-free cycle paths.

Ward Segers then showed a map of the very first cycle node, concluding: “And that is how the cycle node network in Limburg started in 1995”. The network was at once very successful, counting 500,000 users after one year; a number that never stopped rising!

Plenary 1_Ward Segers (7)

Later came the creation of services points, facilitating the start of cycling on the network. A new label was soon introduced as well, highlighting the restaurants and hotels meeting a selection of bike-friendly criteria. Along the Meuse River, cyclists can now stop at “spotters”, that is binoculars showing videos or texts related to the river.

More recently, an app was introduced, which links to the World Tourism Day’s theme, relating tourism and digital transformation. 2003 was the first time that the cycle node network of Limburg had 2,000,000 visitors a year, making it more successful than ever. This number remains until today! And in 2006, the cycle node network was crowned ‘8th World Wonder’ by Radio 2.

The current objective of Toerisme Limburg is to go even further, with the creation of thematic cycle routes. Here are a few of their projects:

  • Cycling through Water in Bokrijk (Genk), in the center of Limburg. This 3-meters large cycle path going through one of the many ponds of De Wijers welcomes up to 5,000 visitors a year!
  • Cycling through Trees, on an elevated platform of 10-meters high.
  • Cycling through the Heat, an experience of cycling through a national park
  • Cycling Underground, a 500-meters long cycle path through the coal mines, enabling visitors to experience how people used to live and work there 50 years ago and to see their drawings that remained on the walls.
  • The Meuse Cycle Route, going along the Meuse River and soon to be EuroVelo 19.
  • The Mine Trail, which gives to experience the mining region and its industrial heritage.
  • The Fruit Trail, crossing what used to be a large fruit industry in the south of Limburg. The cycle path can be combined with the visit of a syrup factory.

“Experiences and tourist routes are what we want to create today, and by doing so we hope to stay on top of the cycle tourism innovations”.

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Ward Segers’ presentation will be available soon on the Conference’s website.

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Opening of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/opening-of-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/10/04/opening-of-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2018 07:36:33 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11242 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 was opened by Igor Philtjens, Chair of Tourism Limburg and the BLCB, Provincial Executive member for Tourism, Culture and Heritage, and Christophe Najdovski, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation and Deputy Mayor of Paris. After official pictures were taken and they were offered a EuroVelo jersey, they both gave a 10 minutes speech as representatives of the two entities organizing the Conference this year: Tourism Limburg, hosting the Conference in Hasselt, and the European Cyclists’ Federation’s, managing the content.

Igor Philtjens + Christophe Najdovski

The Conference took place this year at the occasion of the UNWTO World Tourism Day, on 27 September. “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” was the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD). The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference fitted very well with this theme as many speakers explained how digital transformations help them to get more accurate data on their cycle routes, to make them safer or more enjoyable, and in general to enhance the user’s experience. There were also a few presentations on e-bikes and how their rise is transforming the cycle tourism world.

First speaker at our Conference, Igor Philtjens explained the importance of cycling in the Limburg province which, as the birthplace of the very first cycle node network, was a very good choice for the organization of a EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference. Limburg is investing a lot in the realization of original cycle paths focusing on the cyclist’s experience, such as cycling through water. Their efforts have recently been rewarded as ‘Cycling through Water’ was selected as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2018 in TIME Magazine. This attracted a lot of new visitors from all over the world to the province of Limburg. Igor Philtjens wished all participants to ‘Experience the Unique’ in Limburg, which is also the main theme of the Conference.

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But he also mentioned his own relationship to the bicycle:

“25 years ago, and also 25 kg ago, I had a dream. My dream was to become a professional cyclist.”

And with a lot of humor, he showed the video of a mishap that happened to him not long ago, when he tried to cycle ‘on’ the water rather than ‘through’ it, but did not totally succeed…

His comment, referring to the cycling through water ride scheduled for the next day: “You can touch and smell the water, but do not take it too seriously!”

Christophe Najdovski, president of the European Cyclists’ Federation since May 2018, then said a few words about EuroVelo. His first appearance as ECF president was actually at a EuroVelo event:

“In June, I attended the launch of the EuroVelo 3, the Pilgrim’s Route. This route, as all EuroVelo routes in in France, creates a strong mobility link between the French territories at the metropolitan levels.”

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Christophe stressed that the key to the success of EuroVelo is that the projects are bringing different actors together, which is essential for making real progress. He recalled the main objective that ECF chose at the last AGM in May: “to work on better and more cycling for all”. The EuroVelo routes certainly are an important step toward this objective, as they make it easy for regular tourists to try a cycling holiday, and at the same time they improve local bicycle connexions.

He finished his speech with an enthusiastic line:

“I am looking forward to learning more about EuroVelo and cycle tourism”.

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Introducing the afternoon plenary speakers at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/24/introducing-the-afternoon-plenary-speakers-at-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/24/introducing-the-afternoon-plenary-speakers-at-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2018 08:48:59 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11163 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place in Limburg, Belgium on 26-28 September. In this article, we present you the speakers who will speak at the afternoon plenary session on 27 September, ending the day’s formal programme. Visit the Conference’s website to find out more about the conference and discover the full programme here!

The afternoon plenary session will take place from 16h15 to 17h15 on 27 September, at the 2nd floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hasselt (Torenplein 8, 3500 Hasselt). This session, moderated by Elke Quatacker from Toerisme Limburg and taking place on the World Tourism Day, will focus on tourism routes at different levels. Anna Peressolova will talk about the international Silk Road Programme of the UNWTO, Adam Bodor will imagine the Future of Cycle Tourism in Europe, and Josep Rodriguez will present the regional tourism routes of the Barcelona Province. Read on to learn more about the speakers!

ALLAPAlla Peressolova is an International expert on sustainable tourism and thematic routes development, with a strong expertise on the Silk Road destinations and specific experience and success in creating and implementing regional, national and local tourism initiatives, as well as in the development of marketing strategies and action plans.

As a former Head of the Silk Road Programme at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Alla Peressolova created a collaborative platform for 34 countries and effectively developed joint activities to raise a profile of the Silk Road tourism and support Silk Road destinations in the responsible and sustainable tourism development across three regions of Europe, Asia and Middle East.

She was also responsible for the UNWTO´s relations with the major international fairs. Over the years she established strong alliances with over 20 international and regional fairs, developing on-going programmes and events. She was in charge of such successful events as the Ministers´ Summit, gathering over 100 ministers of tourism every year at WTM, London. Among her other projects are numerous communications and awareness campaigns, and international conferences.

She has particular skill and experience with creating, managing and marketing specific tourism initiatives incorporating a wide variety of tourism providers and co-operative ventures including Private/Public partnerships. With a 28 years-long career at the UNWTO, she has extensive international experience including projects with the UNESCO and the European Commission. She is a frequent speaker at the international forums. Alla will start the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference’s afternoon plenary session with a presentation titled “Silk Road Programme: A collaborative approach to transnational tourism routes”.

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Ádám Bodor will then have the stage to present “The Future of Cycle Tourism in Europe”. Ádám is currently the Advocacy and EuroVelo director of the European Cyclists` Federation. He holds master degrees in geography and economics and has worked previously as the managing director of an industrial park, as project manager at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and as independent consultant on EU Funds.

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His cycling carrier started as board member of ECF in 2004 and he was the first “ministerial commissioner responsible for cycling” and the co-chair of the inter-ministerial working group for cycling in Hungary form 2005 to 2010. He coordinated the preparation and implementation of the first national cycling strategy of Hungary for the 2007-2013 period. This strategy served as a basis to allocate 180 million Euros to construct 2000 km of new cycling infrastructure, to implement the first national standard and the GIS based monitoring system of cycling infrastructure, to introduce a more cycling friendly highway code, to start cycle trainings for kids, to organize a bike to work campaign and to create more cycling friendly cities.

Since working for ECF Ádám reorganized the management of EuroVelo and achieved its first recognition by the European institutions. Since 2016 he has been coordinating the advocacy work of ECF and the preparation of the EU cycling strategy. [Source]

Josep Rodríguez works as Responsible for International Relations in the Tourism Department of the Barcelona Provincial Council (Diputació de Barcelona). He holds degrees in Agriculture Engineering and Humanities and is senior advisor of European projects with more than twenty years of experience in the field. His main field of expertise is the involvement of local authorities within the framework of Structural funds programmes, both the national Operational programmes and the European Territorial Cooperation, with a specific focus on tourism projects. Barcelona Provincial Council is one of the partners of the Interreg MED project BleuTourMED which aims to generate a Sustainable Tourism Community in the Mediterranean region, involving the 17 projects funded by this European programme.

Josep Rodriguez

The Barcelona Provincial Council is promoting the project “Blue ways” for the recovery of the margins of three major rivers in Catalonia in order to establish a route of more than 300 kilometres suitable for cycling. Other initiatives in the field of cycling tourism, focusing on sport tourism or wine tourism, are also developed in its territory.

The Barcelona Provincial Council is an associated member of the Network of European Regions for Sustainable and Competitive Tourism (NECSTour), a network of European regions, representatives of the tourism enterprises, tourism associations and universities/research institutes. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018, Josep will speak about cycle tourism at a regional level in the Barcelona Province, completing the international and European points of view brought by the two other speakers.

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At the end of the afternoon plenary session, Adam Bodor will come back on stage with Marcio Deslandes, Velo-city Series and Global Policies Director at the European Cyclists’ Federation. Marcio will present the next edition of the Velo-city Conference which will take place in Dublin in June 2019 with the theme ‘Cycling for the Ages’. He will invite all participants of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference to attend Velo-city 2019, as cycle tourism will also be part of the programme.

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