EuroVelo http://www.eurovelo.org the European cycle route network Fri, 26 Oct 2018 10:51:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 eurovelo_1.7.4 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.

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Learn more about the Biking South Baltic! project here.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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“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?

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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.

Velocity Logo 2019 resized

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Full house at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference! http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/17/full-house-at-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/17/full-house-at-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2018 14:17:22 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11099 With more than 150 registered participants, which is twice the number of the previous edition, the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 is sold out. We are delighted to welcome visitors from 30 different countries to Limburg on 26-28 September, and we believe that this edition of the Conference will be the best yet!

Only 2 days remain before the Conference Day, featuring 5 plenary speakers and at least 27 speakers distributed in the six parallel sessions. Moreover, the Conference will be opened by Igor Philtjens, Chair of Tourism Limburg and the BLCB, and by Christophe Najdovski, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation. The full programme, with the details of each parallel session and the speakers’ biographies, is available on the Conference’s website.

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Copyright Chez Claire

This year’s EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference is all about experiencing the unique. In the plenary sessions you will learn about the pioneering cycle node network of Limburg, which has now expanded all over Flanders and the Netherlands, and you will hear stories about adventurous bikepacking journeys that demand a high level of organization. But there will also be some speeches not directly related to cycling and aiming to inspire you to step out of your box, either by finding creative solutions to everyday problems or by looking across borders towards the far east with the UNWTO’s Silk Road initiative. Finally, ECF’s advocacy and EuroVelo director Adam Bodor will moderate the closing plenary, adressing the future of cycle tourism in Europe. This plenary will also be the occasion to say a few words about the next Velo-city Conference, taking place in Dublin in June 2019.

DOEN - FietsenCopyright Toerisme Limburg

In the parallel sessions as well, you will learn a lot about new and innovative ideas to improve cycle tourism in Europe. These six sessions, moderated by members of ECF’s EuroVelo team, will tackle various topics such as the communication of cycle routes or of cycling in a particular region, the fruitful impacts of adapting public transport to cycle tourism and how to develop cycle routes or cycle tourism programs. Another session will look at cycle highways in order to determine if it creates a synergy together with cycle tourism. A rather eclectic session will address all kinds of innovations in cycle tourism, going from bikefriendly accomodation to touristic e-bikes through a musical approach to cycle tourism. The last session will look at the management and monitoring of some special cycle routes, including the innovative cycle routes built by Heijmans.

vangogh-4-1600.jpg__1920x0_q85_subsampling-2Copyright Heijmans

The Conference is being sponsored by several cycling, tourism and map-making companies. These include Velo-Boxx, the ultimate bicycle storage company; KINGO, an amazing SmartBike for tourism featuring an integrated digital cycle guide; Mobit, the smartest bikesharing platform in Belgium; SIGNCO, a compay that guarantees road safety by offering a wide range of new products; CircuitZolder, the legendary Belgian racing track, perfect for cycling, cyclocross and BMX; Stad Hasselt, Hasselt’s city administration; and Cartographia IT, a company delivering smart GIS-based web and mobile solutions.

Sponsors

We strongly hope that you have signed up in time for experiencing the unique with us at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018!

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Last 24 hours to register for the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference! http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/10/last-24-hours-to-register-for-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/10/last-24-hours-to-register-for-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2018 14:07:37 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=11037 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 is almost at our doors, and the registrations are closing tomorrow, 12 September! There are only 20 seats left and no registrations will be possible on the spot, so make sure to register in time for the premier cycle tourism event in Europe. In two weeks, speakers and participants from all around Europe will be heading toward Limburg for two days full of discoveries about the EuroVelo routes and cycle tourism in general. In this article, you will find a summary of the Conference’s programme.

After the registrations and Welcome Drinks taking place in the evening of 26 September, the Conference day will start with introduction speeches from ECF President Christophe Najdovski and Toerisme Limburg Director Jeroen Luys.

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Christophe Najdovski – CC BY-SA 3.0

The morning plenary session will take place from 9:20 to 10:45, featuring Ward Segers, project coordinator at Toerisme Limburg, Dries Henau & Yuri Vandenbogaerde, a couple of young entrepreneurs from Ghent, and Josh Ibbett, adventure bikepacker from Flanders. Follow the links to learn more about each of them!

Ward Segers will give a presentation titled “The cycle node network in Limburg, adding new experiences”. This historian with experience in the heritage and regional development sectors is currently responsible for the development of several bicycle projects at Toerisme Limburg. Dries and Yuri are creators of Wasbar and Chez Claire and will propose to experience an ‘out of the box’ presentation during the Conference. And Josh Ibbett has been racing and exploring the world by bike for over 15 years, following a childhood passion for mountain bike racing which has evolved into a passion for travel and riding long distances by bike. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a presentation titled “Ever wonder what goes in an around-the-world bikepacking kit?”

DriesYuri2Dries & Yuri

From 11:15 to 12:45, the first three parallel sessions will take place in the Radisson Blu‘s conference rooms. Click on each session’s name to find out more and discover the speakers!

This session brings together examples of innovation that are allowing visitors to enjoy unforgettable experiences on two wheels.

As a backbone of a regional cycle network, cycle highways connect different cities, towns or major workplaces. They are characterized by a new, higher standard of design, build and maintenance.

Communication is now more visual and digital than ever before and this session focuses on the latest trends in communicating and promoting cycle tourism products.

Dany Heck - photo (1)Dany Heck

After a well-deserved lunch break during which participants will have the chance to visit the Conference’s exhibition, the three last parallel sessions will take place between 14:15 and 15:45.

In this session, learn from some of the best destinations at providing unique experiences for cycle tourists.

Ingredients for the popularity of cycle trails include infrastructure, efficient stakeholder communication and network monitoring, as you will learn in this session.

This session will look at good practice examples of combining bikes and public transport, taking in trains, buses and public bike sharing systems.

Miklos BerencsiMiklos Berencsi

Further plenary sessions will close the day’s programme, featuring Adam Bodor, ECF Advocacy and EuroVelo Director. Adam holds a Master’s degree in Geography and economics. 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. Since working for ECF, he 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. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Adam Bodor will talk about “The Future of Cycle Tourism in Europe”.

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Adam Bodor

On 28 September from 9am to 1pm, participants to the conference will be invited to participate in a social activity of their choice. The available site vitis are listed on this page. We are looking forward to welcoming you in Limburg at the end of the month! And once again, do not forget to register for the conference before full capacity is reached.

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Get to know the plenary speakers! Part 3: Dries & Yuri http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/get-to-know-the-plenary-speakers-part-3-dries-yuri/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/get-to-know-the-plenary-speakers-part-3-dries-yuri/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2018 10:17:51 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10965 Before the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018, discover the plenary speakers in a series of mini-articles. Today we invite you to meet Dries Henau and Yuri Vandenbogaerde. The least you can say of Dries & Yuri, the inventors of the WASBAR & Chez Claire concepts, is that they have a non-conformistic way of viewing things. They’re always on the hunt for new trends and flows in retail. In this inspirational keynote they will show you how they managed to add uniqueness to two rather mainstream products. Disruption is only one step away. The only thing you’ll have to do is to step out of your box. If you’re curious, make sure to attend the morning plenary session, from 9:20 to 10:45!

DriesYuri1

Dries (30) and Yuri (26) studied in Ghent, met in that city and continued to stick together after their studies. They combined a job in media and marketing with their own creative agency and were living in 40m2. This experience made them discover by themselves the need for order and cleanliness if you live in a small space. They learned how to cook and sought a solution to do their own laundry in a fun way. That’s how they came up with WASBAR, the solution for people without a washing machine. In “Take your plan in 50 steps” they continued looking for solutions to everyday problems when you live alone. With “Love your ways”, they tried to remind everyone that life is so much more fun when everyone does his best.

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Picture from Wasbar – Wasbar Kortrijk

In 2012, Dries and Yuri participated in the Topstarter competition on channel Een, where their entrepreneurial talent was rewarded with the first prize and the title Topstarter of the year. Shortly afterwards, Dries and Yuri got another award together. They went from the Best Idea of the Year 2013 to Belgium’s Brand of the Year 2015.

In 2015, Dries and Yuri sold their WASBAR concept to Top Brands, which also has Pizza Hut, Ellis Gourmet Burger and Boulangerie Paul under its wings.

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Picture from http://dejongens.eu/

chezclaire

2018 was the year of Dries & Yuri’s new brainchild: “Chez Claire”.

Chez Claire focuses on one product: éclairs, in 12 variations, from the classic Madagascar vanilla to mango-passion fruit, cheesecake or salted caramel. Our maître patissiers make the eclairs according to the classic recipe, tweaked to 12 different versions. The pudding, ganache and topping are unique for every different taste. The first Chez Claire store in Antwerp opened its doors in March 2018. Soon a second shop followed in Ghent. In addition to eclairs, Chez Claire also sells its own home champaign “Cuvée Claire”, good coffee, and in the summer Shake Claires, which are milkshakes based on full eclairs!

About WASBAR

WASBAR® transforms the routine of waiting for your clothes to be washed in a neon-lit laundry and turns it into a social happening. In WASBAR you can meet up with your friends, around a nice coffee or aperitif. With their 3 branches in Flanders (Ghent, Antwerp, Kortrijk) they have become a fixed value in the Flemish retail landscape. Dries and Yuri are currently considering plans to further expand WASBAR at home and abroad. Learn more at www.wasbar.com.

Awards

– Winner – Topstarter, Channel Een
- Idea of ​​the Year 2013 – Night of the SME
- Shortlist – Shop Concept of the Year
- Nomination – Bar & Restaurant Design Awards
- Silver Medal – A’Design Award
- Ghent Entrepreneur of the Year 2014
- Belgium’s New Brand of the Year 2015

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Picture from Chez Claire

But Dries and Yuri are also travelers who traveled around Europe without any plan and shared their tips and reviews on www.trekjeplan.com. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, they will give an ‘out of the box’ session, talking about their experiences as young entrepreneurs. They will give tips on how to develop a business and keep it running, and most of all they will show you how fun it can be to do business.

Make sure to attend Dries & Yuri’s presentation on 27 September at 9:20-10:45! The full conference’s programme is available here.

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference Parallel Sessions: Session F – Perfect companions: cycle tourism and public transport http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-f-perfect-companions-cycle-tourism-and-public-transport/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-f-perfect-companions-cycle-tourism-and-public-transport/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:57:13 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10953 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place on 26-28 September. In this series of articles, we present you the six parallel sessions of the conference, in which speakers from 11 different nationalities will address cycle tourism topics such as innovations, communication, infrastructure and intermodality. All sessions are linked to the theme for this year’s Conference, which is “Experiencing the Unique”.

Session F – “Perfect companions: cycle tourism and public transport” will take place on 27 September, from 14:15 to 15:45. Research has shown that cycle tourists are more likely to choose public transport to reach their holiday destination compared to the average tourist. Unfortunately however, it is often far from easy to combine these different modes currently in Europe. This session will look at some good practice examples that do exist, taking in trains, buses and public bike sharing systems. The session will also consider what more can be done.

The speakers in this session are Martin Bethge (Germany), Joeri de Visser, Alexander De Bièvre (Belgium), and Daniel Mourek (Czechia). Read on to discover who they are and what they will be talking about in this session!

Martin Bethge - photo

After he has worked across multiple transportation and bike disciplines, Martin Bethge now accounts the business side of bike transportation at FlixBus and FlixTrain. With being data driven as a core skill, he tries to fade out his own passion (cycling up mountains and ending up at beaches) when pushing the bike rack equipment level at Flixbus.

He developed a strategy for an organization and prioritization of racks at buses with focus on economic feasibility. At Flixbus he eventually achieved an equipment level of more than 90% of all rides in the German-speaking entities and an ongoing international roll-out in several entities such as Italy, BeNeLux and Scandinavia. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Martin will give a presentation titled Flixbus: A Smart and Green Cycle Experience for Everyone.

Joeri De Visser - foto

Joeri de Visser is Product manager at Blue-mobility. He will give a talk titled Blue-bike: How tourism can help improve the service of shared-bike schemes? Joeri ended up studying and working in the field of sustainable transport due to the stories his Dutch grandfather, who was a retired railway worker, told him and the time he spent with him riding their bicycles. Traveling by bike and train has become daily practice for him and he is convinced that the combination of the two beholds most potential to truly make transport more sustainable in an affordable and easy way. Because of his participation in the European project BiTiBi.eu on the integration of Bikes + Trains he became motivated to spread the knowledge of the Dutch best practices to other countries.

Joeri eventually chose to focus on Belgium. In 2014 he did an internship at Velo-Antwerpen (the city-based bikes-sharing scheme in Antwerp) and got first acquainted with Blue-mobility in 2016 as a graduate intern (investigating the potential of the shared bike scheme). In 2017 he worked at the Belgian railways as a Bike-parking manager. Nowadays he works at Blue-mobility, the organization who operates the national shared-bike scheme of Belgium, where he combines working on the two means of transport he likes most (Public Transport and Cycling).

Alexander De Bièvre

Alexander De Bièvre is co-founder of Mobit Belgium. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will talk about Mobit Tourism Platform. Mobit is a smart and flexible bike-sharing platform for station-less bikes, which by expansion is also to be used for electric bikes, e-cars and other mobility solutions.

But Mobit is more than just bike sharing. They aim to be the number one sharing platform in Europe for traditional bikes. The Mobit platform will create a unique source of data which will be valuable to governments and enterprises.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Daniel Mourek has been Central and East European Greenways coordinator at the Czech Environmental Partnership Association (EPA) in Nadace Partnerství, Prague for 15 years. He served for four years as the Vice President of the European Cyclist’s Federation (ECF) and represents EPA as a steering committee member of the European Greenways Association. Currently, Daniel is also a EuroVelo council member at the ECF.

On a national level, he is coordinating long distance greenways and EuroVelo routes (such as Elbe Trail, Iron Curtain Trail, and Prague-Vienna Greenways) in the Czech Republic. On a local level, Daniel is a member of the Prague cycling committee. Daniel’s background is in sustainable tourism development. He studied at the Prague School of Economics (tourism) and University of Berne (sustainable tourism development). His professional career has involved working for the national tourism authority, Czech Tourism, as well as for Thomas Cook before joining the NGO sector at EPA in 2000. He has been an active cycling advocate and promoter of sustainable transport and travel. [Source] At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Daniel Mourek will give a presentation titled The user’s perspective.

The moderator for this session will be Ed Lancaster, Senior Policy Officer for cycling tourism and regional policy at the ECF. Ed, from United Kingdom, is a member of the EuroVelo team at the ECF. Prior to joining the ECF, he worked for various local planning authorities in South East England and gained a Masters in Urban Planning, which gave him a good understanding of both the opportunities and challenges for increasing levels of cycling.

Featured image: Mobit

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference Parallel Sessions: Session E – Effective cycle network management http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-e-effective-cycle-network-management/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-e-effective-cycle-network-management/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:47:22 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10943 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place on 26-28 September. In this series of articles, we present you the six parallel sessions of the conference, in which speakers from 11 different nationalities will address cycle tourism topics such as innovations, communication, infrastructure and intermodality. All sessions are linked to the theme for this year’s Conference, which is “Experiencing the Unique”.

Session E – “Effective cycle network management” will take place on 27 September, from 14:15 to 15:45. Maintaining and improving cycle networks is a crucial task in cycle tourism. Important ingredients for the popularity of cycle trails include infrastructure, efficient stakeholder communication and network monitoring, improving links to cultural attractions as well as a better understanding of how to adapt public policies to the needs of cyclists. At a concrete level, we will learn about an innovative solution for cycle-path surfaces from the company that built the famous Van Gogh Path. We will then look at the impact of public policies in Portugal before listening to two best-practice examples of cycle network management in Belgium. We will also learn how cultural highlights can be integrated into a route and how to estimate its economic impact.

The speakers in this session are Harald Kuhn (The Netherlands), Ana Santos (Portugal), Monica Silvestrini, Eveline Sierens (Belgium), Mercedes Muñoz Zamora (Spain) and Richard Weston (United Kingdom). Read on to discover who they are and what they will be talking about in this session!

Harald Juhn

Harald Kuhn is Product Manager Smart Mobility at Heijmans. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference he will give a presentation titled Improving cycling experience with safe, comfortable and fun infrastructure. Heijmans is a Dutch company that combines activities in real estate, residential building and infrastructure, including cycling infrastructure.

The company has launched Heijmans Bikescout as a solution to make cycling safer. The Bikescout is an intelligent warning system that constantly monitors the speed and distance of oncoming cyclists, calculating their arrival time and notifying motorists via LED indicators in the road surface.

Ana Santos

Ana Santos is head of the Pedagogical Board of the Human Kinetics Faculty at Lisbon University and a member of research network CRIA. She did a Master in Anthropology and a PhD in Sociology, Education, Culture and Communication, both at Lisbon University. Ana Santos has coordinated and participated in research projects in the areas of sports, leisure and mobility, and she is the author of “The Tour of Portugal by Bicycle, Heritage, Narratives and Identities”. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, she will talk about the Ethnography of cycling in Portugal.

LimburgProvincie

Monica Silvestrini, coordinator of the Mobility Department at the Province of Limburg, will give a talk titled Quality Monitoring of the Tourist Cycle Network in Limburg. Monica is the contact person for Limburg’s Provincial Mobility Point, which support companies and private institutions in the submission and implementation of their projects linked to a more sustainable commuting from or to their business location. Monica also works toward the realization of a functional cycle route network and cycle highways together with municipalities.

Eveline Sierens final

Eveline Sierens is a socio-economic geographer. Since 2002 she is working at the tourism department of the province of Antwerp. She is leader of the ‘Route agency’. This team manages more than 8.000km of recreational bicycle-, walking- and equestrian routes in the province of Antwerp. In 2001 the province started with the system of cycle nodes. Today the network consist of 2.850 kilometers of nice and safe paths. The ‘Routedoctors’ maintain the corresponding signage and follow up notifications of users of the cycling network.

Eveline and her team also use the knowledge they have built up over the years to advise local authorities and entrepreneurs on the development of attractive route-products. Aside the traditional and still desired use of tangible maps, websites and online route platforms are the longer, the more used information sources. With this in mind, the tourism department of the province of Antwerp, together with publisher Lannoo, recently launched a digital route platform. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, she will give a talk titled Smart Collaboration on the Management of Recreational Cycle Routes.

Mercedes Mu+¦oz Zamora - photo

Mercedes Muñoz is the director of the European Greenways Association (EGWA), an international not-for-profit association which was created in 1998 in Namur (Belgium) with the aim of encouraging the creation and promotion of greenways in Europe. It brings together more than 50 different organizations from 16 European countries involved in the development of greenways. Since 2009 the General Secretary and executive office have been located in Madrid. Learn more at www.aevv-egwa.org.

Greenways are non-motorized routes which 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 (see full details in the Lille Declaration). At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Mercedes will give a presentation titled Greenways Heritage: Innovation in Accessible Walking and Cycling Routes.

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Richard Weston is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Central Lancashire, in the School of Business and Enterprise. Richard worked for over 10 years in the motor industry before entering higher education. In 2000 he graduated from Staffordshire University with a first degree in Economics, and in 2007 completed a PhD in housing at Nottingham Trent University.

Richard is research active within the area of tourism and is a member of the Institute of Transport and Tourism. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a presentation titled Who comes and who spends? Understanding the demand and impact of cycle tourism on EuroVelo, the European cycle route network.

The moderator for this session will be Ernst Fahrenkrug, EuroVelo and Communications Assistant at the ECF. Ernst, from Germany, obtained his Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Bonn in Germany’s Rhineland. Then he worked at a development-policy research institution, the UN, a transatlantic consultancy, and a PR agency. Prior to joining the ECF, he spent nine years as a senior copy editor and translator at a major media-monitoring agency in Cologne.

Featured image: Heijmans Bikescout

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference Parallel Sessions: Session D – Developing experiences: The future of cycle tourism products http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-d-developing-experiences-the-future-of-cycle-tourism-products/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-d-developing-experiences-the-future-of-cycle-tourism-products/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:36:47 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10932 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place on 26-28 September. In this series of articles, we present you the six parallel sessions of the conference, in which speakers from 11 different nationalities will address cycle tourism topics such as innovations, communication, infrastructure and intermodality. All sessions are linked to the theme for this year’s Conference, which is “Experiencing the Unique”.

Session D – “Developing experiences: The future of cycle tourism products” will take place on 27 September, from 14:15 to 15:45. Tourism is all about experiences and cycle tourism provides them in abundance! Indeed, when developing new cycle tourism products, the feelings of the users should be the main consideration. Within this session you will be able to learn from some of the very best destinations at providing unique experiences for cycle tourists: the cycling paradise of Flanders, the British National Cycle Network (the forerunner of the EuroVelo network) and not forgetting the Netherlands – the ‘home of cycling’. We will also hear about some new route developments in Hungary – an increasingly popular destination for cycle tourists.

The speakers in this session are Marie Secrétant (Belgium), Miklos Berencsi (Hungary), Will Haynes (United Kingdom), Carlos Martin Ruiz (Spain) and Eric Nijland (The Netherlands). Read on to discover who they are and what they will be talking about in this session!

Marie Secr+¬tant - photo

Marie Secrétant is head of the Tourism & Events department of the Brussels-based non-profit organisation Pro Velo. Following professional experiences in sustainable and responsible tourism at a European level, she today teaches the course Sustainable Tourism at ISALT university college in Brussels.

An eternal traveller herself, she has extensive personal and professional experiences in the travel and tourism sector (including the organisation of cultural events, hotel management, tourist transport solutions, the restaurant business, …). She has a Master’s degree in Tourism & Culture. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Marie will give a presentation titled The Cycling tourism market: an opportunity for Belgium?

Miklos Berencsi

Miklós Berencsi graduated at the Budapest University of Technology as a civil engineer and at the University of Florida as a transportation engineer. He has been working in the Hungarian transport administration for more than 10 years in different fields and levels including road network development, road operation and maintenance, inland navigation and sustainable transport.

From 2013 he has been working solely on cycling issues. Since 2016 he has been head of the Cycling Coordination Department in the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. In 2015 he worked on cycling and sustainable transport issues at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland as a fellow. He is participating in THE PEP project and also worked in the preparation of the EU Cycling Strategy as an expert. He is the father of 3 children, a passionate mountain bike, road and gravel cyclist and a triathlete. He is working as a volunteer for a local bikeschool, organizing competitions and summer camps for kids. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a talk titled EuroVelo 14: Development Process in Hungary.

Will Haynes Photo

Will Haynes is a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 20 years post graduate experience of the design and construction of infrastructure projects both in the UK and overseas.  His experience has been gained primarily in the highway sector and ranges from provision for cyclists to major trunk road and motorway improvement schemes. His experience covers the options, development and construction phases of schemes. Much of this experience has been gained from working as part of large multi-disciplinary teams and with a wide range of project stakeholders.

As Infrastructure Director at Sustrans Will is responsible for providing strategic direction and professional leadership to all aspects of Sustrans infrastructure and estates management work, this includes developing technical guidance and facilitating the sharing of best practice across the organisation for both the design of new cycling infrastructure and the maintenance of existing routes.  He is involved in the management of the UK’s National Cycle Network (NCN), which comprises over 25,000 km of route across the length and breadth of the UK. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a presentation titled Cycle Tourism: Developing the UK National Cycle Network.

CARLOS MARTIN RUIZ - BIKEFRIENDLY

Carlos Martin Ruiz will give a presentation titled “Bikefriendly World: 5 Key Success Factors in in Developing Successful Cycle Tourism Products”. This recently graduated architect from the ETSALS Barcelona had the opportunity to live and work as an industrial designer for a few years in The Netherlands, where he comprehended the role of cycling as a part of daily life and the enormous potential of the bicycle to develop more cohesive, equitable, habitable and sustainable models of cities and territories.

Since then, he has combined research and work (combining public and private sector) in the fields of social innovation and design, data science, territorial planning and sustainable urban mobility, considering people and bicycle always as main protagonists. He has actively participated in the development and implementation of several initiatives to promote urban cycling, cycling logistics and cycle tourism. In 2016 he was in charge of the Bicycle’s Integral Strategy of Sant Boi de Llobregat (82,000 inhabitants), a city of the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona.

This is how he joined in 2017 the Bikefriendly team, where he currently combines two of his great passions in life (bicycle and urban planning) as senior consultant and product manager, developing integral and innovative strategies to consolidate the bicycle in the territories where he works, facilitating its daily use to improve quality of life in cities and specializing the territories as cycle tourism destinations contributing to their socio-economic development and sustainable structuring.

Eric Nijland

Eric Nijland is director of the Fietsplatform since the founding in 1987. Fietsplatform (Dutch Cycling Platform) is the National coordination centre for cycle tourism. With the support of the national and regional authorities (Ministries and Provinces), Fietsplatform tries to improve the facilities for recreational cycling/cycle tourism in the Netherlands and the use of these facilities.

Fietsplatform is a member of the ECF and National EuroVelo Coordinator for the Netherlands. Eric has frequently contact with colleague organizations abroad and has held several presentations about the Dutch cycling network in for example France, Germany and England. At VeloCity 2017 he gave a presentation about ‘Cycle Tourism Governance’. [Source] Now, at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a talk titled The Dutch Cycling Platform – Maasfietsroute.

The moderator of this session will be Jesus Freire, Business Development Officer at the ECF. Jesus, from Spain, has a background in Political Science and European Studies. He also has a relevant experience in project management, business development and advising public and private actors in (cycle) tourism and EU funding mechanisms. Jesus joined the EuroVelo Management Team in 2013.

Featured image: VisitFlanders

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference Parallel Sessions: Session C – Communicating the cycle tourism experience http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-c-communicating-the-cycle-tourism-experience/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-c-communicating-the-cycle-tourism-experience/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:25:29 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10923 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place on 26-28 September. In this series of articles, we present you the six parallel sessions of the conference, in which speakers from 11 different nationalities will address cycle tourism topics such as innovations, communication, infrastructure and intermodality. All sessions are linked to the theme for this year’s Conference, which is “Experiencing the Unique”.

Session C – “Communicating the cycle tourism experience” will take place on 27 September, from 11:15 to 12:45. Communication is now more visual and digital than ever before and this session focuses on the latest trends in communicating and promoting cycle tourism products. Ever wondered how to get the best out of social media? What is a successful marketing strategy for long distance cycle routes? Or how to use visual communication to reach your target audience? This session will provide the answers to these questions and more, so do not miss this opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading cycle tourism destinations!

The speakers in this session are Dries Verclyte, Jeroen Peeters, Dany Heck (Belgium), Hillel Sussman (Israel), and Fong Choo Leong (Germany). Read on to discover who they are and what they will be talking about in this session!

Dries Verclyte

Dries Verclyte is Product Manager Fietscultuur (Cycling Culture) at VisitFlanders, Flanders’ tourism office, and a keen cyclist himself. Originally from Ghent, he studied European Studies in Durham, public administration in Ghent and tourism in Antwerp. He has been working for VisitFlanders for more than 12 years, organizing cycling events and promoting a cycling culture in general. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a presentation titled Cycling in Flanders Project (Cycling culture of Flanders).

JeroenPeeters

Jeroen Peeters is Online Coordinator at Toerisme Limburg (Limburg’s tourism office). He describes himself as an online addict, passionate about travel and tourism and curious about digital marketing trends. In the frame of his job, his mission is to reinvent the online identity of Toerisme Limburg by releasing a brand new digital concept, and of course to show everyone the beauty of the Limburg’s region and the hospitality of its inhabitants.

Jeroen is a specialist of storytelling and content marketing, with a strong experience in communications and social media management. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will share his experience and advices in a talk titled How to use social media?

Dany Heck - photo (2)

Dany Heck is Deputy Managing Director of the East Belgium Tourism Agency and Responsible for product development with specialization on hiking and cycling. In 2001 he joined the East Belgium Tourism Agency to plan and develop the 850 km long Cycle network “VeloTour” which was launched in 2004. After this he reorganized the Mountainbike product of Eastbelgium by focussing on digital solutions (2006) and initiating GPS guided tours and organizing GPS rental stations.

From 2009 till 2013 he was responsible for marketing and product development of the “Vennbahn”, which was internationally awarded on several occasions and is one of the longest rail bike paths in Europe. Within the framework of a Leader-project and looking out for new communication facilities, he imagined a new communication tool, which is embedded in the route planner GO Eastbelgium. Important information for cyclists and hikers is now directly visible in the map on which you plan your tour. Discover it during his presentation, titled Routeplanner Software Innovation.

Israel Bike Trail

Hillel Sussman of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) is director and project manager of the Israel Bike Trail, which he is actively promoting as most people don’t know that there are plenty of navigable cycle routes crisscrossing the country. Israel Bike Trail is a mountain-biking trail along the entire length of Israel, from Mt. Hermon in the North to Eilat in the South. Those 1,100 km of cycle trails offer spectacular desert riding along single tracks and dirt roads. The first 300-km segment of the route is all sign-posted and designed for smooth cycling. Tourist facilities for cyclists are available along the route.

Eight years ago, Hillel Sussman and his colleague Yuval Peled came up with the idea of creating a long-distance trail for bicycles that not only could connect the cycling community to nature and the environment, but also could serve as a challenging catalyst to infuse geography and travel into the growing interest around the country in mountain biking. They worked out a general route though the most attractive scenery in Israel. In developing the trail, they took its environmental impact and the preservation of nature and heritage sites into account, among other issues [source]. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Hillel will present this project in a talk titled Israel Bike Trail – Developing a national MTB Route.

Fong Choo Leong - Photo

Fong Choo Leong works as Cycling Tourism Officer at the Berlin Headquarters of the German Cyclists’ Association (ADFC e. V. Bundesverband). With more than 170.000 members the ADFC is the largest association for cycling advocacy worldwide. Ms. Leong’s tasks include the EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route project, the organisation of expert committee’s meetings, as well as the classification and certification of ADFC quality routes and cycling holiday regions. By awarding these seals the ADFC has established uniform quality standards for long-distance cycle routes and cycling holiday regions across Germany.

Born in 1990, Ms. Leong graduated from the Harz University of Applied Sciences in 2018 with a Master degree in Tourism and Destination Development. During her studies, she worked as a student trainee for a Leipzig based consultancy focusing on active tourism such as mountain bike and cycle tourism. She wrote her master thesis on the success factors of cycle tourism in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, she will give a talk titled Cycling holiday in Germany- Truely inspring: Marketing strategies of long distance cycle routes.

The moderator of this session will be Jesus Freire, Business Development Officer at the ECF. Jesus, from Spain, has a background in Political Science and European Studies. He also has a relevant experience in project management, business development and advising public and private actors in (cycle) tourism and EU funding mechanisms. Jesus joined the EuroVelo Management Team in 2013.

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference Parallel Sessions: Session B – Cycle highways and cycle tourism: Is there a synergy? http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-b-cycle-highways-and-cycle-tourism-is-there-a-synergy/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-b-cycle-highways-and-cycle-tourism-is-there-a-synergy/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:15:42 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10915 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place on 26-28 September. In this series of articles, we present you the six parallel sessions of the conference, in which speakers from 11 different nationalities will address cycle tourism topics such as innovations, communication, infrastructure and intermodality. All sessions are linked to the theme for this year’s Conference, which is “Experiencing the Unique”.

Session B – “Cycle highways and cycle tourism: Is there a synergy?” will take place on 27 September, from 11:15 to 12:45. As a backbone of a regional cycle network, cycle highways connect different cities, towns or major workplaces. They are characterized by a new, higher standard of design, build and maintenance. They also require wider cooperation on regional or even national levels. In return they extend the range of daily cycling from city-wide to region-wide and create new opportunities for active mobility. Can there be a synergy between cycle highways and cycle tourism? The session will explore this question through different stages of cycle highway projects – from planning through design and construction to monitoring and evaluation.

The speakers in this session are Bert Celis, Bart Jansen, Tina Caers and Monica Silvestrini (all from Belgium). Read on to discover who they are and what they will be talking about in this session!

Bert Celis

Bert Celis is the co-founder and coordinator of Flanders’ Bike Valley, where he now occupies the position of Innovation manager. Flanders’ Bike Valley (“The Global Cycling Center”) was established in 2013 as one of the first bottom-up clusters in Flanders, as it was founded by 4 local SME’s. Flanders’ Bike Valley focuses on 6 major topics: Mobility, Sports (involvement of the Belgian Cycling Foundation and the Belgian Olympic Committee), Safety & Healthcare, Science & Technology, Industry & Government and Tourism.

Bert has extensive knowledge of innovation and project management for breakthrough projects in the industry. He follows-up every project within Bike Valley and welcomes all new open innovation initiatives and ideas from the biking sector. His specializations lie in the Aerodynamics (cycling wind tunnel) and Cycling Performance Management sectors. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Bert will give a presentation titled BikeValley: CHIPS.

CHIPS (Cycle Highways Innovation for smarter People Transport and Spatial Planning) is a project that develops and promotes cycle highways as an effective and cost efficient low carbon solution for commuting towards and from urban employment poles. CHIPS demonstrates that, especially in combination with the growing number of e-bikes, cycle highway innovation can effectively get commuters out of their cars.

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Bart Jansen graduated as a civil engineer at the Catholic University of Leuven – campus De Nayer. After this, he did a master-after-master study in industrial management, with a specialization in transportation and logistics. Bart has gained professional experience over the past 9 years as project engineer and/or project manager in urban infrastructure projects, both in the design and implementation phases. Having built up a very broad knowledge, Bart is able to manage the design of urban infrastructure projects from beginning to end. He functions as contact person for the clients and leads the design team.

Bart is a bike-enthusiast. He daily travels to work by bike and frequently rides his race bike. Bart had the opportunity to use this interest also professionally by being project manager of two challenging cycling infrastructure projects: ‘Fietsen Door De Heide, Maasmechelen’ and ‘Cycle Highway F44, Dendermonde’. These projects are still running at the moment. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a presentation titled The Cycle Highway Accelerator.

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Monica Silvestrini, coordinator of the Mobility Department at the Province of Limburg, will talk about how High-rate bike paths for commuting offer opportunities for touristic cycle networks. Monica is the contact person for Limburg’s Provincial Mobility Point, which support companies and private institutions in the submission and implementation of their projects linked to a more sustainable commuting from or to their business location. Monica also works toward the realization of a functional cycle route network and cycle highways together with municipalities.

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Aleksander Buczynski, Infrastructure Officer at the ECF, will be the last speaker in this session. He will introduce the lobbying work that ECF does on the European Road Infrastructure Safety Management (RISM) and the latest developments regarding the update of the RISM directive. His presentation will include examples of good and bad practice from the Trans-European (TEN-T) road network, how they are affecting cycle highways and cycle tourism, and how better RISM framework could help the development of both of them.

Aleksander, from Poland, started with studies in Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Warsaw. The last 8 years before joining ECF he worked at the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (Polish national road administration), on cycling projects and road safety in general.

The moderator of this session will be Adam Bodor, who is currently the Advocacy and EuroVelo director of the ECF. 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]

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference Parallel Sessions: Session A – Blazing a trail: Innovation in cycle tourism http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-a-blazing-a-trail-innovation-in-cycle-tourism/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/09/03/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-parallel-sessions-session-a-blazing-a-trail-innovation-in-cycle-tourism/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:05:15 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10905 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place on 26-28 September. In this series of articles, we present you the six parallel sessions of the conference, in which speakers from 11 different nationalities will address cycle tourism topics such as innovations, communication, infrastructure and intermodality. All sessions are linked to the theme for this year’s Conference, which is “Experiencing the Unique”.

Session A – “Blazing a trail: Innovation in cycle tourism” will take place on 27 September, from 11:15 to 12:45. This session brings together examples of innovation that are allowing visitors to enjoy unforgettable experiences on two wheels. These range from service providers coming up with tailored offers for cyclists, to the use of innovative marketing strategies to reach out to new audiences. Innovative approaches to governance can also be important to producing successful cycle tourism products while the use of the very latest technology in bicycle design can add significantly to the experience of tourists.

The speakers in this session are Wolfram Hinnenthal (Germany), Bart Gregoor, Johan Vanswijgenhoven, Eveline Sierens (Belgium), Camille Perretta (France) and Paul Cheese (United Kingdom). Read on to discover who they are and what they will be talking about in this session!

Wolfram Hinnenthal

Wolfram Hinnenthal is the Managing Director of ADFC Bett + Bike GmbH. ADFC stands for Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club, a registered cycling association and club for cyclists, which is strongly committed to the change of traffic in Germany. ADFC is also the National EuroVelo Coordination Center in Germany.

Bett + Bike is a platform that makes it easy for cyclists to find a suitable accommodation. They can choose from about 5,800 hotels, guesthouses, youth hostels and campsites which are specially adapted to the needs of cyclists. Only those who meet the ADFC quality criteria are included in the website’s database. Bett + Bike has an app and is available in 9 different European countries. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Wolfram will give a talk titled Bett + Bike.

Bart Gregoor

Bart Gregoor, who comes from Limburg, is the founder and “véloromantiseur” of Café Coureur, a Belgian based bicycle shop, café and cycling events booster. This entrepreneur chooses to name himself véloromantiseur rather than manager because his job is to romanticize cycling races, and the term “manager” doesn’t carry this meaning.

In the events organized by Café Coureur, the experience on the bike is central. They want participants to experience the most beautiful sights during the race. The Café Coureur e-shop sells good cycling gear and cycling clothing that is both aesthetic and qualitative. Bart even set up a private label for Café Coureur, together with Bioracer, to promote his own brand. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, he will give a talk titled Café Coureur. Bikefriendly lodging is not about a print of Eddy Merckx above the bed.

Johan Vanswijgenhoven, also from Limburg, is project manager at Click & Bike. As a young start-up, Click & Bike wants to develop smart solutions for electric bicycles. Their first solution started in 2015, the Kingo SmartBike, combines an e-bike, tablet and mobile app. This all-in-one approach offers tourists the opportunity to comfortably discover a touristic area by bike, without preparation. Now, Kingo offers two models that only differ in their display, available in the so-called KINGO SmartBike Stations – in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg.

At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Johen will present the Kingo SmartBike in a presentation titled E and Smart Bikes for Tourists.

Eveline Sierens final

Eveline Sierens is a socio-economic geographer. Since 2002 she is working at the tourism department of the province of Antwerp. She is leader of the ‘Route agency’. This team manages more than 8.000km of recreational bicycle-, walking- and equestrian routes in the province of Antwerp. In 2001 the province started with the system of cycle nodes. Today the network consist of 2.850 kilometers of nice and safe paths. The ‘Routedoctors’ maintain the corresponding signage and follow up notifications of users of the cycling network.

Eveline and her team also use the knowledge they have built up over the years to advise local authorities and entrepreneurs on the development of attractive route-products. Aside the traditional and still desired use of tangible maps, websites and online route platforms are the longer, the more used information sources. With this in mind, the tourism department of the province of Antwerp, together with publisher Lannoo, recently launched a digital route platform. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Eveline will give a presentation titled “The Cycle Platform: A Demand-Oriented Tool Based on Collaboration”.

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Camille Perretta will give a presentation titled “Innovating Governance for a Peaceful Achievement”. After an Economic and International tourism development diploma from Sorbonne University (Paris), Camille joined the Vélo Loisir Provence team as a tourism project officer. Since 2014, she is coordinating “La Méditerranée à Vélo” committee. Meanwhile, she organizes and conducts community awareness meetings, and helps stakeholders in decision-making for tourism and bike projects. In September 2018, she will participate for the second time to a bicycle tour with a French association which aims to promote tourism by bike on “La Méditerranée à vélo – EuroVelo 8” towards the local populations.

Before Vélo Loisir Provence, Camille Perretta worked as communication officer at L’OCCITANE, where she was responsible for local partnerships and sponsoring. She also worked in Brussels for NECSTOUR coordination – a European network of 28 European Regions (Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur, Tuscany, Catalonia, Limburg Province…). There, she experienced project management, coordination of networks, public relations and she developed her knowledge of European institutions.

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Paul Cheese is a musician, sound artist, producer, singer, songwriter and cyclist. He’s not what you might think of as your ‘typical’ cyclist, but in the last 5 years he’s cycled over 18,000 km. His solo albums have been written and recorded on epic cycle trips. In April this year, he cycled 2650 km (carrying 45kg of gear) 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.

At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Paul will give a presentation titled Rock and Roll: An innovative approach to reach a new cycle tourist audience. Using examples of sounds recorded on his trips, and showing how they have then been used to create soundtracks and songs, Paul will creatively show how a cross platform approach – cycling, music, adventure, history, comedy and geography may be beneficial to target new audiences and look at new approaches to marketing campaigns.

The moderator for this session will be Ed Lancaster, Senior Policy Officer for cycling tourism and regional policy at the ECF. Ed, from United Kingdom, is a member of the EuroVelo team at the ECF. Prior to joining the ECF, he worked for various local planning authorities in South East England and gained a Masters in Urban Planning, which gave him a good understanding of both the opportunities and challenges for increasing levels of cycling.

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Last chance to register for the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018! http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/28/last-chance-to-register-for-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/28/last-chance-to-register-for-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/#comments Tue, 28 Aug 2018 07:18:52 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10868 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place in Limburg, Belgium on 26-28 September. The deadline for registering is fast approaching (12 September 2018), so don’t delay and register here for the conference.

Both the EuroVelo team and the staff from Toerisme Limburg have been busy setting up a diverse and international programme for the conference over the last few months. In this article, we present you the final programme so you know what you sign up for when registering for this exciting event! Visit the Conference’s website for the last news and updates.

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The event will begin on the evening of Wednesday 26 September with the Welcome Drinks. After registering at the Radisson Blu lobby (from 18:30 to 20:00), participants will be invited to proceed to the Sky Bar to meet the other participants. This café, situated on the 18th floor of the hotel, gives an amazing view of the city of Hasselt. It will be the occasion for some networking before the conference begins.

The registration desk will be open again on the morning of 27 September, from 7:30 to 9:00, for those who did not have the chance to register the night before. Upon registering you will receive a confirmation of the parallel sessions you registered to, and some practical details about the social activity you chose to take part in on 28 September. The opening of the conference will be given at 9:00 on the 2nd floor of Radisson Blu, with speeches from Christophe Najdovski, President of the European Cyclists’ Federation and Jeroen Luys, Director of Toerisme Limburg.

The theme of this year’s EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference is “Experiencing the Unique”. Plenary speakers and guests for each parallel session have been carefully selected according to this theme and they will talk about truly special places and cycling trails, unusual journeys, surprising innovations and how to communicate their unique characteristics.

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During the morning plenary session (9:20-10:45), you will have the opportunity to listen to Ward Segers from Toerisme Limburg talk about the Limburg cycle node network and the new cycling experiences that can be expected in the next year, to Dries & Yuri – the incredibly gifted creators of Wasbar and Chez Claire – who will reveal their secrets during an ‘out of the box’ session, and to Josh Ibbett, hardcore traveler and winner of the Transcontinental Race, who will explain how he does it and what he packs when leaving for one of his epic races. Learn more about the morning plenary speakers in this article.

After a coffee break that will enable participants to visit the exhibition, the conference will resume with three parallel sessions respectively titled Blazing a trail: Innovation in cycle tourism (Session A), Cycle highways and cycle tourism – Is there a synergy? (Session B) and Communicating the cycle tourism experience (Session C). Each session will welcome between four and six speakers and be moderated by a member of the ECF’s EuroVelo team.

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A light lunch will be served between 12:45 and 14:15, and then the conference will return with three more parallel sessions with five to eight speakers each. The sessions are titled Developing experiences: the future of cycle tourism products (Session D), Effective cycle network management (Session E) and Perfect Companions: Cycle tourism and public transport (Session F).

Two more plenary sessions will bring us to the end of the formal programme between 16:15 and 17:15. Adam Bodor, Advocacy and EuroVelo Director at ECF, will talk about the future of cycle tourism in Europe. All participants will then have some time to refresh before heading to the Conference dinner which will be held in the beautiful location of Tiendschuur in Herkenrode Abbey, very close to Hasselt. Make sure to try the Herkenrode beers (either blond, triple or brown) during the evening!

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The morning of 28 September, approximately from 9:00 to 13:00, will be dedicated to the social programme. Participants will take part in a site visit chosen among the following: Bike Valley, Circuit Zolder, Cycling through water, Meuse Cycle Route and Cultural heritage route. More information about the site visits is available on this page.

Below you will find a table summarizing the programme of 27 September. You can also download it and read the parallel sessions’ descriptions in this pdf: EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference programme

We are looking forward to seeing you in Limburg, and do not forget to register for the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 before 12 September!

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Introducing the morning plenary speakers at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/27/introducing-the-morning-plenary-speakers-at-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/27/introducing-the-morning-plenary-speakers-at-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/#comments Mon, 27 Aug 2018 15:28:08 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10859 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place in Limburg, Belgium on 26-28 September. In this article, we will introduce you to the speakers who will be opening the conference during the morning plenary session on 27 September. Visit the Conference’s website to find out more about the conference and make sure to register here before 12 September!

The morning plenary session will take place from 9h20 to 10h45 on 27 September in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hasselt (Torenplein 8, 3500 Hasselt). This session, moderated by Elke Quatacker from Toerisme Limburg, will welcome three exciting speakers: Ward Segers, Project Manager at Toerisme Limburg; Dries & Yuri, creators of the brand WASBAR and the shop Chez Claire; and Josh Ibbett, adventure bikepacker and winner of the Transcontinental Race.

Ward Segers

Ward Segers is a historian. After a short time working in education, he gained experience in the heritage sector and (economic) regional development. With his heritage and project management experience he became responsible at Tourism Limburg for the development of several bicycle projects. In addition to the development of a bicycle experience through the Limburg mining area, he also participates in the creation of “cycling through trees”, “cycling through the heath” and “cycling underground”. In his spare time he obviously likes to ride his bike, in Limburg and abroad!

At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Ward will give a presentation titled “The cycle node network in Limburg, adding new experiences”. He will talk about the history and the unique characteristics of the Limburg cycle node network to show what makes Limburg a cycling paradise. Additionally, Ward will look at the future of this paradise. What new cycling experiences can be expected in the next year and how can we keep Limburg at the top of cycling tourism?

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Picture from http://dejongens.eu/

Dries Henau and Yuri Vandenbogaerde are entrepreneurs and creative thinkers who seem to come up with an innovative new idea every few years. They met each other when they were studying in Ghent, and since then they have always worked together, each bringing his own marketing expertise to the team.

In 2012, Dries and Yuri founded WASBAR. This concept café and wash-house revolutionizes laundry for those who do not have a washing machine at home because at WASBAR, waiting for your laundry becomes a social happening. You can meet up with your friends with a nice coffee or a refreshing pint and even have dinner while your clothes are being washed! There are already three WASBAR in Antwerp and two in Ghent, and more are about to arrive.

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Picture from http://trekjeplan.com/

Dries and Yuri are also at the origin of Chez Claire, an éclair shop created in 2018. At Chez Claire you can try no less than 13 éclair flavors (including pistachio, salted caramel and triple dark chocolate), including versions for vegans and people with food intolerances. You can also take them away in gift wrappings. Moreover, Chez Claire also has its own brand of champagne, “Cuvée Claire”, which you can sip with your favorite éclair! So far you can find Chez Claire shops in Antwerp and in Ghent.

But Dries and Yuri are also travelers who traveled around Europe without any plan and shared their tips and reviews on www.trekjeplan.com. At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, they will give an ‘out of the box’ session, talking about their experiences as young entrepreneurs. They will give tips on how to develop a business and keep it running, and most of all they will show you how fun it can be to do business.

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Josh Ibbett has been racing and exploring the world by bike for over 15 years. A childhood passion for mountain bike racing has evolved into a passion for travel and riding long distances by bike. Josh has won the iconic Transcontinental Race, a 2600 miles race across Europe, from Belgium to Istanbul, and has also spent numerous months on the road, touring by bike.

At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Josh will give a presentation titled “Ever wonder what goes in an around-the-world bikepacking kit?” During his speech, he will explain what bikepacking is, what he packs when he leaves for a bike tour, where he has travelled during his cycling years, where he usually sleeps and what he eats on the road. After listening to his presentation, you will have all the keys to start bikepacking yourself!

Josh Ibbett

You can download the full conference programme here or find it on the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference website.

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Get to know the plenary speakers! Part 2: Josh Ibbett http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/24/get-to-know-the-plenary-speakers-part-2-josh-ibbett/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/24/get-to-know-the-plenary-speakers-part-2-josh-ibbett/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2018 15:11:31 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10833 Before the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018, discover the plenary speakers in a series of mini-interviews. Today we invite you to meet Josh Ibbett who will give, in the morning plenary session, a presentation titled “Ever wonder what goes in an around-the-world bikepacking kit?”

Josh has been racing and exploring the world by bike for over 15 years. A childhood passion for mountain bike racing has evolved into a passion for travel and riding long distances by bike. Josh has won the iconic Transcontinental Race, a 2600mile race across Europe from Belgium to Istanbul and has also spent numerous months on the road touring by bike.

At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Josh will give a presentation answering the following questions:

  • What is Bikepacking?
  • What do I pack?
  • Where have I travelled?
  • Where do I sleep?
  • What do I eat?

So join us at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference to discover the secrets of this iconic bikepacker!

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A quick chat with Josh:

  • What cycle tourism lessons are you bringing to the conference?
    I hope to give those attending the conference the rider’s point of view on travelling by bike. What do cyclists need when travelling by bike and how can you help to cater for them?
  • What are you looking forward to the most at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018?
    I am looking forward to networking with influential people in the cycle tourism world and hopefully passing on some knowledge to help make the world a better and safer place to cycle.
  • What is the most important impact of cycle tourism, according to you?
    Cycle tourism is a fantastic advertisement for a country or region. At cycling speed you see the tiny details and these all add up. I always remember the regions that are the most pleasant to cycle through.
  • What will you visit by bike in Limburg?
    I plan to cycle to the conference from the airport, and then use the opportunity to visit some of Belgium’s famous cities on my journey home.

Make sure to attend Josh Ibbett’ presentation on 27 September at 9:30-10:45! The full conference’s programme is available here.

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Get to know the plenary speakers! Part 1: Ward Segers http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/24/get-to-know-the-plenary-speakers-part-1-ward-segers/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/24/get-to-know-the-plenary-speakers-part-1-ward-segers/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2018 09:48:22 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10827 Before the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018, discover the plenary speakers in a series of mini-interviews. We begin with Ward Segers from Toerisme Limburg who will give, in the morning plenary session, a presentation titled “The cycle node network in Limburg, adding new experiences”!

Ward Segers is a historian. After a short time working in education, he gained experience in the heritage sector and (economic) regional development. With his heritage and project management experience he became responsible at Tourism Limburg for the development of several bicycle projects. In addition to the development of a bicycle experience through the Limburg mining area, he also participates in the creation of “cycling through trees”, “cycling through the heath” and “cycling underground”. In his spare time he obviously likes to ride his bike, in Limburg and abroad!

At the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference, Ward will give a presentation of the history and the unique characteristics of the Limburg cycle node network to show what makes Limburg a cycling paradise. Additionally, Ward will look at the future of this paradise. What new cycling experiences can be expected in the next year and how can we keep Limburg at the top of cycling tourism?

A quick chat with Ward:

  • What cycle tourism lessons are you bringing to the conference?
    I will tackle the question of what does a region need in order to build a good touristic cycling network.
  • What are you looking forward to the most at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018?
    Meeting cycling partners and colleagues from all over Europe, and sharing experiences.
  • What is the most important impact of cycle tourism, according to you?
    Cycle tourism is a sustainable type of tourism that, in its current form, economically benefits smaller and regional businesses and thus creates revenue for the region itself.
  • What is your favorite cycling route in Limburg?
    Of course, Cycling through Water is very special! But cycling along the old fruit trail in the south of Limburg is also very nice.

Make sure to attend Ward Segers’ presentation on 27 September at 9:20-10:45! The full conference’s programme is available here.

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference programme http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/01/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-programme/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/08/01/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-programme/#comments Wed, 01 Aug 2018 09:46:57 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10706 It is time to disclose the programme of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018! The European Cyclists’ Federation and Toerisme Limburg are very pleased to welcome more than 40 speakers in Hasselt on 26-28 September 2018.

The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference aims to gather professionals from the world of cycle tourism and beyond in order to share innovations and good practices and to create a relaxed environment for networking. Speakers from all over Europe will give presentations that have been grouped into themes such as Experiences, Cycling hardware, Marketing & Promotion and Sustainable tourism.

The Annual National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs) Meeting (only for National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators) will be held on 26 September. In the evening, participants in the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will be invited to pre-register at the Hotel Radisson Blu and to join the Welcome Reception (19:30 to 21:00).

The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference will take place on 27 September. The full conference’s programme (still subject to changes and updates) can be found below:

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You will find a description of each parallel session in this pdf: EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference programme.

In addition to the sessions, there will also be an exhibition space at the conference venue, where cycle tourism companies will present their products. The last day of the conference will be dedicated to social activities and participants will have the opportunity to choose between five exciting site visits. More information about the social programme is available here.

Do not forget to regularly come back to our website in the coming weeks to learn more about the conference’s speakers! We will present them in the course of next month and provide information on their cycle related activities.

To register for the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018, just click here!

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North West Greenway Network Project: good news for EuroVelo 1 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/30/north-west-greenway-network-project-good-news-for-eurovelo-1/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/30/north-west-greenway-network-project-good-news-for-eurovelo-1/#comments Mon, 30 Jul 2018 14:09:07 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10689 Two EuroVelo routes are crossing Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland: EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route and EuroVelo 2 – Capitals Route. But leisure cycling and cycle tourism are relatively new pastimes in those regions. Cycling needs to be promoted in order to encourage people to change their habits and switch to the bicycle for short journeys and longer leisure trips – reducing at the same time the amount of carbon dioxide produced.

In particular, the North West Region, comprised of the Derry City & Strabane District council area, north and east Donegal, is home to a beautiful natural scenery and fascinating cultural heritage. But a large number of cars go across the region every day because of cross-border movements. With the aim of putting cycling and walking in the foreground and of enjoying more often the island’s high quality landscape, the region’s Councils commissioned Sustrans (the UK-based cycling and walking charity, which is also EuroVelo’s UK Coordinator) to develop the North West Greenway Plan in 2015. This Plan sets out a high-level strategic vision to develop upwards of 250km of cross-border cycleways and greenways (i.e. dedicated cycling and walking routes, either off road (traffic free) or on road within part of the verge or footway, but segregated from vehicular traffic).

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In 2016, the North West Greenway Network Project was awarded €14.8 million funding by the European Union through their INTERREG VA funding programme to construct 46.5km of cross-border greenways. Match-funding has been provided by the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland. Three routes are to be completed by 2022. These routes link Derry to Buncrana via Bridgend; Muff to Derry via Culmore; and Lifford to Strabane. Once completed, this will result in a greenway network of approximately 126.5km in the North West, of which 76.5km will be classified as high quality greenway. These routes will complement existing cycleways in the North West, among which EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route.

Consultation events were held in May and June for routes 1 and 2 of the North West Greenway Network, while the public consultation for route 3 is planned for late summer. Through these events, the councils are seeking the public’s views on a series of route options being appraised for the proposed greenways. Participants are local residents, school children, walking groups, cycling clubs, political representatives… It turns out to be a good practice for involving the local community in decision-making. It also helps to identify the actual barriers (social, physical or mental) met by people when they cycle in the region, and to tackle these challenges when planning the construction of the greenways.

The public consultations have been very successful. The first consultation event, for route 2 (Muff-Derry), gathered almost 300 people on 23-24 May in Hollybush primary school, situated just next to the border. The consultation days for route 1 (Buncrana-Derry) were held 26-27 June and again, almost 300 came out to support the project. Hosting one of the events in a school attracted many children and their parents, hopefully planting the cycling seed in the youngsters. This goes in the direction encouraged by the Active Travel Officer appointed by project partner Sustrans: to engage with schools, colleges and workplaces to offer advice and guidance and to effect travel change.

One man and his dog in Hollybush Culmore_ 20180626_142038

Ronan Gallagher, Communications Manager for the North West Greenway Network, said about route 1 (Derry-Buncrana) that ‘this section of the project is by far the largest stretch of greenway to be developed, and will link in to the existing EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route that crosses from Newtowncunningham to Manorcunningham.’ Route 2, on the other hand, comes in along the River Foyle and will join into the Foyle Valley Greenway which is part of EuroVelo 1. The North West Greenway Network Project is thus important for EuroVelo in Ireland because it will add several high-quality cycle routes to the network.

In conclusion, the North West Greenway Network Project is very promising regarding cycle tourism in Ireland. The project’s vision summarizes it all: “To develop a cross border network of greenways that link people with places locally, regionally and nationally- bringing social, economic & environmental wellbeing to all.”

North West Greenway Network Ronan Gallagher article logo

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Become a sponsor of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018! http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/30/become-a-sponsor-of-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/30/become-a-sponsor-of-the-eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018/#comments Mon, 30 Jul 2018 12:56:28 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10677 The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference presents exciting networking, marketing and sponsorship opportunities. Becoming a sponsor of the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference means making contact with professionals of the tourism sector from all over Europe and beyond – experts tied to universities, private companies and governmental organisations with wide networks.

The conference will be held at the hotel Radisson Blu from 26 to 28 September 2018. It aims to become the world’s leading cycle tourism conference series, attracting all those involved in the tourism sector: tourist boards, public authorities, accommodation providers, public transport companies, tour operators, universities/academics, user groups and other members of the cycle tourism world.

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2016, in Vienna

Two sponsor packages are available for those interested in partnering with the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference:

Package 1 

Costs: € 1.300 (excl. VAT)

  • Company logo, link to website and a short text about the company on the EuroVelo Conference website
  • Company logo in the program book (leaflet)
  • 1 free entrance ticket for the conference

OR

  • Stand at the Conference Exhibition on 27/09 – one table & two chairs (6 m²)
  • per extra m²: €150 (excl. VAT)
  • 1 free entrance ticket for the conference

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Eurovelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2014, in Basel

Package 2 

Costs: € 2.800 (excl .VAT)

  • Company logo, link to website and a short text about the company on the EuroVelo Conference website
  • Company logo in the program book (leaflet)
  • 2 free entrance ticket for the conference

AND

  • Stand at the Conference Exhibition on 27/09 – one table & two chairs (6 m²)
  • per extra m²: €150 (excl. VAT)

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Networking at the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2012, in Nantes

Should your organisation be interested in increasing awareness by supporting the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018, or in receiving more information, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers at info@euroveloconference2018.com or the conference secretariat at helpdesk@klinkhamergroup.com.

Featured image: flandersbikevalley.be

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Discover the ECO-CICLE project: European network for the promotion of cycle tourism in natural areas http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/30/discover-the-eco-cicle-project-european-network-for-the-promotion-of-cycle-tourism-in-natural-areas/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/30/discover-the-eco-cicle-project-european-network-for-the-promotion-of-cycle-tourism-in-natural-areas/#comments Mon, 30 Jul 2018 08:26:32 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10666 Members of the County Council of Huelva, including the President Ignacio Caraballo, came to the ECF office in Brussels last month for a meeting with the European Cyclists’ Federation about the ECO-CICLE project. ECO-CICLE, the new European network for the promotion of cycle tourism in natural areas, aims to improve natural and cultural heritage policies.

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Picture from Diputacion De Huelva

The objective of the meeting was to address the most essential points of the ECO-CICLE project, approved in the framework of the third call of Interreg Europe. ECF is a key partner of this project, together with six other organisations among which the County Council of Huelva is the lead partner. Other partner organisations are the Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship (Poland), the Aufbauwerk Region Leipzig GmbH (Germany), the RDA of Northern Primorska Ltd Nova Gorica (Slovenia), the Basilicata Region (Italy) and the Regional Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (Seville, Spain).

ECO-CICLE developed from the experience gained by the County Council of Huelva in promoting cycle tourism both locally and regionally, through the strategic framework supported by the 2014-2020 Plan for bicycle in Andalusia. As a third of the province of Huelva is under specific environmental protection, an interest in fostering cycle tourism in natural areas has grown naturally. The County Council of Huelva then contacted ECF to launch the ECO-CICLE cooperation project, in which ECF assumes the advisory role. The partners were chosen based on several criteria such as the interest and capacity to influence policy instruments managing structural funds and the extension of protected areas in the territory.

It is the EuroVelo, cycle tourism and regional policy unit of ECF which is the ECO-CICLE partner as the focus of the project is on cycle tourism in natural heritage spaces, and also on improving local and regional policies related to the promotion of this activity. Moreover, several partners (LP and PP2, 5 & 6) are also contributing to one of the 15 transnational EuroVelo routes, and the ECO-CICLE project itself will contribute to the EuroVelo network. It will 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. ECO-CICLE will thus certainly interest the EuroVelo audience.

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However, ECO-CICLE has to tackle a few issues, related to the development of a sustainable tourism model in the frame of protected areas and to the lack of consistency and visibility when addressing the operational programmes managing structural funds. On the one hand, as most of the territories covered by ECO-CICLE have extended protected areas, they are very sensitive to economic development, including the development of a cycle tourism scheme, and they require additional attention in order to ensure preservation and respect of biodiversity. And on the other hand, it is not always clear for local administrations in charge of managing the natural heritage how to access structural funds investments through the operational programmes, as the category can be either tourism, natural heritage, sustainable transport or land-use for local development planning. ECO-CICLE aims to establish an expertise at operational programme.

Therefore, we understand that ECO-CICLE’s objectives tackle different areas:

  • A dimension of sustainable tourism: ECO-CICLE aims to promote cycling in natural spaces, based on both a tourism and an environmental perspective, and in this way to give impetus to sustainable mobility beyond the strictly urban environment.
  • A dimension of economic revival: bringing tourism to unexplored natural spaces will create new services and jobs and increase growth in remote areas, and will help the move towards a green and competitive economy.
  • A dimension of assistance: ECO-CICLE also aims to increase the capacities of local authorities to promote sustainable mobility and to identify what European Territorial Cooperation (or Interreg) programme is most adapted to their projects, in the fields of the protection and development of natural and cultural heritage.
  • A dimension of networking: ECO-CICLE wants to create a European Network of Local and Regional Authorities for the promotion of cycle tourism in natural spaces. This network will enable partners to advise each other depending on their expertise.

The ECO-CICLE project is taking place from 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2022 and is divided in two phases, each lasting two years. The project budget amounts to 1,353,495€, of which Interreg Europe contributes 1,117,914.15€.

ECO-CICLE_poster

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Here are the policy instruments that the project addresses:

  • ERDF Operational Programme Andalusia 2014-2020 Autonomous Regional Government of Andalusia, Axis 4, for which the Regional Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning is responsible.
  • Regional Operational Programme of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Voivodeship 2014-2020, for which the Kujawsko-­Pomorskie Voivodeship is responsible.
  • Charta of the Leipziger New Lakeland 2030, for which the Administrative District of Leipzig is responsible.
  • Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020, Republic of Slovenia (OP), for which the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy, Cohesion Policy Department is responsible.
  • Basilicata Regione Development Pact, for which the Basilicata Region is responsible.

More information is available on the ECO-CICLE project’s website.

In conclusion, the ECO-CICLE project is very promising for cycling tourism and sustainable mobility, and a big step in the direction of the EU2020 strategy fostering sustainable environmental development.

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15th international cycle tour “WEEK of CYCLETOURISM” along EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/20/15th-international-cycle-tour-week-of-cycletourism-along-eurovelo-4-central-europe-route/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/07/20/15th-international-cycle-tour-week-of-cycletourism-along-eurovelo-4-central-europe-route/#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2018 10:10:48 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10623 More than 50 participants from Czechia, Slovakia, Austria and other countries went on a cycle tour on 19-26 May to launch the traditional “WEEK of CYCLETOURISM” event, organized every year by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation Nadace Partnerství on EuroVelo 4 – Central Europe Route. It is the longest EuroVelo route in Czechia: over 900 km, crossing the entire country.

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This year, the tour happened on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechia. The Czechoslovak First Republic was indeed established in 1918, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This week-long tour ended after 650 km and 6,000 meters in altitude at Brno Exhibition Centre for the RE:PUBLIKA Festival, marking the anniversary with exhibitions on Czech architecture, design and literature, dance festivals, sports , etc.

The traditional cycle tour was organized in collaboration with Carlsbad, Central Bohemia regions, Vysočina and South Moravia regions and important UNESCO cities along the route such as Prague, Cheb, Carlsbad, Rakovník, Kutná Hora, Žďár nad Sázavou and Brno. Mayors, regional authorities and regular cyclists joined the tour on daily stages. One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the Bike Arena Vysočina during the Mountain Bike World Cup organized this year in Nové město na Moravě.

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Every day of the tour, visits of the Trees of Liberty were organized. The trees of Liberty symbolize the rise of Czechoslovakia, because in the years 1918 and 1919, people planted thousands of them – especially the mayors, pupils and members of local associations. The trees were covered in ribbons, houses were decorated, the anthem was sung and a list of memories was laid on the roots. More trees were also planted in later years, whenever people wanted to commemorate and celebrate the importance of freedom and democracy. For instance, in 1928 (the year of the division of Czechoslovakia into four “lands”), 1945 and 1968. What’s more, the lime tree is a national emblem of Czechia.

The map of the Trees of Liberty shows the location of 1918 of them. Each one has its own story saying when and by whom it was planted. The campaign for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechia aims to connect the community by planting new trees, reaching the number of 2018 trees. The participants of the cycle tour participated in the campaign by meeting with children in schools and talking about this tradition.

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EuroVelo 4 in Czechia follows important national cycle routes such as the Ohře/Eger cycle route along the large Eger River, the Paneuropean route that follows river Berounka and passes the medieval castle Karlštejn, and the Elbe cycle route. It is signposted with the EuroVelo logo almost everywhere (except for a short section in South Moravia). Three other EuroVelo routes also cross Czechia, which is the most geographically central state in Europe: EuroVelo 7 – Sun Route, EuroVelo 9 – Baltic-Adriatic and EuroVelo 13 – Iron Curtain Trail.

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Monitoring conducted by automated Eco-counters along EuroVelo 4 showed that the western section of the route, near Cheb, was used by 75,000 cyclists in 2017, while there were about 100,000 cyclists on the eastern section of the route, near Ostrava. We hope that these numbers will keep rising in the coming years!

More pictures of the event in this album.

More information about EuroVelo in Czechia: eurovelo.cz & mereninavstevnosti.cz.

Based on an article from Daniel Mourek.

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Cycle tourism at Velo-city 2018 http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/28/cycle-tourism-at-velo-city-2018/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/28/cycle-tourism-at-velo-city-2018/#comments Thu, 28 Jun 2018 10:04:02 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10602 At this year’s Velo-city conference in Rio de Janeiro, each of the four days featured a session on cycle tourism. The second day of the conference even included a plenary on cycle tourism – a first for a Velo-city conference! If you could not make it to Rio then this article aims to give you a little overview of what took place in those sessions.

The Velo-city conference 2018 kicked off on June 12th under the sun of Rio de Janeiro. Among the many exciting talks of this first day was a cycle tourism session, focusing on the importance of good governance. Ádám Bodor, Advocacy and EuroVelo Director at the ECF, was the moderator for the session and was interested to hear the differences and the similarities between the European and the Latin American models.

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European models were presented by Ed Lancaster, Senior Policy Officer at the ECF, while Ivo Leonardo Scmitz from Clube de Cicloturismo and Leandro Tomaz Knopp provided some Latin American examples. Ed Lancaster explained the EuroVelo project and outlined the growth of cycle tourism in Europe. He then presented different governance models that are being used on a national level to develop successful cycle tourism destinations. Ivo Leonardo Scmitz gave an overview of the development of cycle tourism in Brazil, and Leandro Tomaz Knopp then gave a specific example of the Sun Coast in Rio State.

You can read more about this session in this article.

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The second day of the conference was important for cycle tourism, because the afternoon plenary focused specifically on this topic. The fact that cycle tourism is acquiring more importance at Velo-city reflects the growth of this section of the tourism market and its importance as a gateway to mobility cycling too! The plenary, moderated by Ed Lancaster, featured four speakers who discussed cycle tourism as a booming business driving sustainable economic and social development.

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The speakers addressed cycle tourism in Europe or Brazil, presenting different perspectives. “Mobility and tourism cannot exist separately”, said Juliana DeCastro from Núcleo de Planejamento Estratégico de Transportes e Turismo, while she was explaining the economic benefits of cycle tourism in Brazil. Ana Santos from Lisbon University and network research CRIA presented her data research showing how cycle tourism is developing in Europe. She concluded that “cycle tourism is a means of cohesion and development”.

This plenary is presented more extensively here.

Plenary

Thursday’s cycle tourism session showcased experiences from around the globe. Anna Gurnhill from CycleLife HQ in Australia gave an overview of her company’s research, showing that the turnover of the bicycle travel and tourism is three times as high as the bicycle product industry. But bicycle tourism is one of the few global industries that hasn’t consolidated. She advised that destinations should focus on the visitor experience and try to innovate, but they should also work more collaboratively with local businesses and attractions.

Examples

Rosa Felix, a cycling researcher and activist from Lisbon, presented her own success story. She had the very good idea of organizing a cycling trip to a summer festival in Portugal, and the trip was so successful that they now are the sustainable mobility partner of the festival. Then Tatsuya Okado from Okinawa prefecture in Japan presented the economic effects of bicycle tourism on the Okinawa islands, and Brazilian Ricardo Martins talked about his inspiring journeys all around the world on a bamboo bicycle called “Dulcinea”.

Find out more about the session in this article.

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The final cycle tourism session at this year’s Velo-city was an interactive workshop on developing cycle tourism routes, conducted by Ádám Bodor, Aleksander Buczynski and Ed Lancaster from the ECF’s EuroVelo team. They introduced the European Certification Standard (ECS), used to assess the quality of cycle routes. Then the audience were shown a series of photographs of different examples of cycle routes, and they had to indicate which of the ECS criteria each one met by standing in different corners of the room! This original session hopefully helped the participants to acquire a practical understanding of how to develop success cycle tourism routes.

More about the session here.

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If you want to read about other Velo-city sessions, you’ll find all the articles in the ECF news section. Velo-city 2018 was a success, and many speakers from all over the world proved that the bicycle represents development, means of transport and leisure. It provides access to life!

Pictures from Riotur

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New ECF president attends the launch of the Scandibérique http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/27/new-ecf-president-attends-the-launch-of-the-scandiberique/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/27/new-ecf-president-attends-the-launch-of-the-scandiberique/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2018 14:24:54 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10592 The French part of EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route was launched on June 1st in Bobigny, Seine-Saint-Denis. The event was attended by Christophe Najdovski who was appointed president of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) during its AGM on 19 May. Indeed, it was his first public appearance since becoming president!

The event also gathered Stéphane Beaudet, vice-president of the Île-de-France region, Stéphane Troussel, president of the Seine-Saint-Denis department, and Frédérique Denis, vice-president of the newly renamed Vélo & Territoires, the French National EuroVelo Coordination Centre.  After the ceremony, they all got on their bikes to cycle on a short stretch of the route along the Canal de l’Ourcq.

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© Le Parisien/Florian Niget

EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route connects Trondheim in Norway to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, following several historic pilgrims’ routes. When the route is fully developed, 5,100km of cycle routes will link those faraway cities, crossing 7 countries. The French section of the route is the longest – 1,700km from the North to the South of the country, crossing 20 departments and 6 regions– and within France will be known as Scandibérique.

Christophe Najdovski had cycled from Paris to Bobigny to join the event, a ride of about 45 minutes. He commented that the Scandibérique (EuroVelo 3) creates a strong mobility link between the French territories at the metropolitan level. With its attractiveness and touristic potential, it unifies the Île-de-France region’s departments both regarding cycle tourism and long term trips, but also daily mobility.

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© Vélo & Territoires

In other news from France, the National EuroVelo Coordination Centre announced a change in their name on 1st June, during their own AGM. Previously called the DRC (Départements & Régions Cyclables), they have changed to Vélo & Territoires. This name is shorter, easier to remember and it reflects the organization’s commitment to federate the French regions and departments in the common goal of implementing the remaining 7,750km of cycle routes of the EuroVelo network in France, as explained Chrystelle Beurrier, chairwoman of Vélo & Territoires.

They also created a new logo, which asserts more effectively the network’s values and symbolizes the bond between the territories and the bicycle, and between the territories themselves through the cycle routes. The logo’s colors also have meanings: green for sustainable development, mobility and cycle tourism; blue for Europe.

DRC change name

Read more about the launch of the Scandibérique:

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EuroVelo at the Med Community Midterm Conference in Rome http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/27/eurovelo-at-the-med-community-midterm-conference-in-rome/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/27/eurovelo-at-the-med-community-midterm-conference-in-rome/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2018 12:26:26 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10577 LOGO_ERDF_MEDCYCLETOUR-En

The “Med Sustainable Tourism Community’s Community Building event and Midterm Conference” took place in Rome on 29-30 May. EuroVelo was in on it, presenting the MedCycleTour project, which is based on EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route.

The conference brought together representatives from many projects in the community. The Med Sustainable Tourism Community comprises more than 20 projects focusing on the Mediterranean. It was created in November 2016 and includes almost 100 organisations (public authorities, private companies, universities and international organisations) in nine Euro-Mediterranean countries, aiming to make policy makers, scientists and practitioners join forces to design policies and management strategies for sustainable tourism.

Breathing hot Roman air heavy with the scent of blooming jasmine, the about 100 conference participants were focusing on monitoring the sustainability of tourism and on environmental, cultural and social impacts of tourism in the Mediterranean region. Concentrated tourism flows have put considerable pressure on natural resources and the environment in this region. Fostering sustainable tourism has become crucial, as the Mediterranean is experiencing a loss of biodiversity, the effect of desertification and the diminishing reserves of water.

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The advantages of cycle tourism are obvious in this context. Your EuroVelo correspondent presented MedCycleTour at the conference, one of the Med Community’s projects. It focuses on EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route, which connects the whole Mediterranean from Cádiz to Cyprus on a length of nearly 6,000 km. The presentation highlighted the advantages of cycle tourism, which helps tackle some of the most important challenges of tourism in the Mediterranean. Cycle tourism:

  • reduces the environmental impact of traveling,
  • reduces congestion and noise in populated areas,
  • allows for more space, which would normally be taken up by cars,
  • can bring tourists to less visited areas,
  • dilutes the impact of concentrated tourism flows,
  • prolongs the tourism season,
  • encourages longer stays,
  • increases the consumption of local products,
  • raises average spending,
  • and is a significant business factor.

Moreover, taking a transnational approach in the MedCycleTour project will enable common challenges to be tackled together, e.g. lack of route infrastructure, missing cycle-friendly services, or weak branding and promotion. Furthermore, best practices can be shared, avoiding duplication and increasing the effectiveness and positive social, economic and environmental impacts. The presentation stressed that EuroVelo is one of the most successful European transnational tourism products, and international cooperation is the key for this success.

The various presentations and interactive workshops at the conference showed that data and concrete project results need to be transformed into key messages to have a stronger influence on policy makers. The next step will be to draft a capitalisation plan and to distribute it among the community’s projects. It could be approved at the next Med Community event in Marseille in November.

The whole conference was accompanied by graphic facilitator Barbara Govin, who came up with beautiful, funny and useful drawings of what happened at the stage.

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EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018: Registration is open http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/19/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018-registration-is-open/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/19/eurovelo-and-cycle-tourism-conference-2018-registration-is-open/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2018 14:01:32 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10558 The registration for the EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 that will take place in Belgian Limburg on September 26th – 28th is open! You can now register here.

Do not miss the leading cycle tourism conference in Europe, a unique occasion to share knowledge, highlight good practices and encourage further development of the EuroVelo network and cycle tourism generally across Europe. It will be an interesting and exciting event for bike and tourism professionals alike!

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The conference will take place in Hasselt (Belgian Limburg), at the Radisson Blu Hotel, on 26-28 September 2018. The EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference registration package includes a welcome reception, full access to the Conference, a closing dinner and a social programme.

The programme will include two plenary sessions as well as parallel sessions in topics such as:

  • Experiences – Innovation
  • Cycling hardware – Cycle highways
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Experiences – Developing successful cycle tourism products
  • Cycling hardware – Innovation
  • Sustainable tourism – Combining bicycles with public transport

More detailed information about the draft programme is available here.

On Friday, September 28, you will have the chance to take part in social activities to discover the Limburg province by bike. The following site visits are planned in the morning:

  • Bike Valley, a guided visit of this Open Innovation Center for the Cycling Industry, featuring a unique low speed wind tunnel, a climate room and a bike manufactory;
  • Circuit Zolder, a circuit open to all cycling disciplines that hosted several world championships in road cycling, BMX and cyclocross;
  • Cycling through water, a ride through the ponds of the Wijers on a 33-km cycle path passing several heritage sites and natural top spots;
  • Meuse route, a ride alongside the Meuse riverbanks and through the Riverpark Meuse Valley, with a short ferry ride taking you to the Dutch riverbank;
  • Cultural heritage route, a discovery of some original places in Hasselt, namely the Japanese garden, the Jenever Museum and the Ring Ring Project, a bicycle art project in the center of Hasselt.

We know that the choice will be difficult, but you can read more about the visits here before choosing which one to join!

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Limburg will also host the Annual National EuroVelo Coordinators and Coordination Centres Meeting on September 26, an opportunity for the National EuroVelo Coordination Centres and Coordinators (NECC/Cs) to network with each other and share experiences and best practices.

If you would like to be a speaker at the conference, the call for abstracts is still open on the website and you have until June 21st to submit an abstract related to one of the afore-mentioned topics.

We look forward to welcoming you in Limburg this September for lively discussions about the future of cycle tourism with the top experts in the field!

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Velo-city day 4: Creating successful cycle tourism routes http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/18/velo-city-day-4-creating-successful-cycle-tourism-routes/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/18/velo-city-day-4-creating-successful-cycle-tourism-routes/#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 09:53:25 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10549 The final cycle tourism session at this year’s Velo-city was an interactive workshop on developing cycle tourism routes. The participants were given the opportunity to stretch their legs and express their view of how appropriate various examples of infrastructure were for different target groups by moving to the four corners of the room.

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Ádám Bodor, Aleksander Buczynski and Ed Lancaster from the ECF’s EuroVelo team ran the workshop and began by introducing the European Certification Standard (ECS) which is used to assess the quality of cycle routes. This is both to identify areas for improvement but also to communicate the current condition to the public. The ECS contains criteria for infrastructure, services and promotion related to the needs of the three main target groups:

  1. Regular Cycle Tourists
  2. Occasional Cycle Tourists
  3. Demanding Cycle Tourists (families with children, tandems etc.)

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It was at this point that the audience were asked to leave their seats and were shown a series of photographs of different examples of cycle routes. They had to indicate which of the ECS criteria each one met by moving around the room.

Ádám Bodor then explained the process of undertaking the route survey, using a dedicated app specifically developed for the ECS, and the training programmes that are run by the ECF every year for people interested in becoming route inspectors. There was still time for discussions with the audience, particularly about the applicability of the ECS in non-European contexts and how the target groups of a particular route can change over time as it becomes more developed.

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Velo-city day 3: Cycle tourism http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/15/velo-city-day-3-cycle-tourism/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/15/velo-city-day-3-cycle-tourism/#comments Fri, 15 Jun 2018 10:48:41 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10539 Thursday’s session on cycle tourism showcased experiences from around the globe. The first presentation by Anna Gurnhill, Global Operations Manager at CycleLife HQ, gave an overview of the company’s research on global cycle tourism destinations centred around the following questions:

  • What is the scope and size of the market?
  • What are the industry conditions?
  • What are the challenges?
  • What are the better practices?
  • What’s the path to success?

 

They found that the turnover of the bicycle travel and tourism is three times as high as the bicycle product industry – 100 bn US Dollar globally. The industry is growing (43% increase in mobile searches for bicycle tours during the last year), there’s a lot of unmet demand and the industry is highly fragmented. Bicycle tourism is one of the few global industries that hasn’t consolidated – it is constituted of a large number of small players. The industry lacks bargaining power, and a critical mass to support investment. However, on the upside, it’s easier to enter the market and to be authentic, to innovate and to differentiate locally.

The core factor deciding about the success of cycle tourism is the visitor experience, so destinations should first and foremost strive to improve the quality of it

Gurnhill gave some advice her company has identified from studying the success of some destinations: It is important to link local businesses and attractions to rides; to work collaboratively; to listen to customers; to identify and promote new bicycle business establishments; to focus on what makes them special; to engage and optimise social media channels; and to embrace digital wayfinding.

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Rosa Felix, a cycling researcher and activist from Lisbon, presented a case study from Portugal about riding to summer festivals by bike. Her group organised a trip to the Portuguese Sustainability Festival Andanças with the goal of motivating people to cycle who might not have much experience. Therefore, they chose a flat route with easy traffic for the 180 km trip and planned 3 days for it. By using municipal facilities for sleeping, they were able to offer the experience free of charge. The trip was so successful that they now are the sustainable mobility partner of the festival, and many participants continued to cycle even after the trip in their everyday life.

Tatsuya Okado from Okinawa prefecture presented the economic effects of bicycle tourism on the Okinawa islands. The region received 9.4 million visitors during the last year, more than Hawaii. It offers many tourist attractions: nature and historic sites, beautiful sea and beautiful roads along the coast and bridges between the islands, which all have high potential value for bicycle tourism. Sport tourism is also popular on the islands; The Tour de Okinawa is an international bike race with growing economic impact (from 5 million US dollars in 2010 to 5.7 million US dollars in 2016). There are also guided cycling tours with thematic focus (e.g. pottering) offered for tourists. In many key touristic sites, bicycle rental spots exist. There are also bicycle maps indicating safe + comfortable bike routes and the location of bicycle rental stations offered.

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Ricardo Martins from Brazil presented his experiences from riding his bamboo bicycle “Dulcinea” around the world. He has already crossed Africa, is now in Europe, and planning to go to Asia. According to him, bamboo bicycles are sustainable, very stable, and also sociable since they don’t look like an expensive bicycle that creates distance. For Martins, bicycle tourism has the advantage of simplicity that works everywhere. It can give people balance and stability for their life; it is not necessarily about overcoming big obstacles, even for long-distance trips like his. It can also help us to redesign the concept of speed and experience a different notion of time, both factors that help to support sustainable development by deviating from the dominant paradigm of ever-faster growth and increasing speed in our lives.

 

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Pictures from Riotur
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Velo-city day 2: Cycle Tourism (afternoon plenary) http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/14/velo-city-day-2-cycle-tourism-afternoon-plenary/ http://www.eurovelo.org/news/2018/06/14/velo-city-day-2-cycle-tourism-afternoon-plenary/#comments Thu, 14 Jun 2018 12:20:40 +0000 http://www.eurovelo.org/?p=10524
The second day of Velo-city concluded with a stimulating discussion about “Cycle Tourism”. It is the first time that a Velo-city conference has included a plenary on cycle tourism. This reflects the growing importance of this booming segment of the tourism market.

In a nutshell, the plenary discussed cycle tourism as a booming business driving sustainable economic and social development. Millions of Europeans are already experiencing how cycling tourism can improve the quality of life and contribute to more responsible consumption habits. During the plenary, cycle tourism in Rio and elsewhere in Brazil was discussed, stressing that it is driving sustainable economic and social development. We also heard about how millions of Europeans are already experiencing how cycling tourism can improve the quality of life of the communities in the destinations and also for the tourists themselves.
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The plenary was moderated by Ed Lancaster, ECF’s Senior Policy Officer – Cycling Tourism and Regional Policy.
The speakers for the plenary “Cycle Tourism” were:
  • Juliana DeCastro, from Núcleo de Planejamento Estratégico de Transportes e Turismo – PLANETT

Ms. DeCastro gave us the picture outside of the country in the rest of Brazil. She focused on the potential and economic benefits of cycle tourism in Brazil.

Tourism2“Mobility and tourism cannot exist separately.”
  • Ana Santos, head of the Pedagogical Board of the Human Kinetics Faculty – Lisbon University and a member of research network CRIA.

Ms. Santos presented a slightly different perspective, through data research, of how cycle tourism is developing in Europe, focusing on Portugal as a case study.

Tourism3”Cycle tourism is a means of cohesion and development.”
  • Marcelo Alves, President of Riotur.

Mr. Alves talked about Riotur, Tourism Company of the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro. He focused on the development of cycle tourism in Rio and the benefits it has resulted for the city.

Tourism4“Cycle tourism has enormous potential to be one of the main tourism factors in Rio. It will help our city to grow and develop.”
  • Adam Bodor, ECF’s advocacy director.

Mr. Bodor provided an overview of the situation in Europe where cycle tourism is well established and has a significant impact. During his presentation, he introduced ECF’s project Eurovelo, the European cycle route network and talked about its objectives and role in boosting cycle tourism in Europe.

Tourism5“Cycle tourism has changed and moved to mainstream”
The plenary “Cycle Tourism” took place during Day 2 of Velo-city 2018; Wednesday 13th June 2018 at 14.00-15.00
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