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See more on your holidays with a bicycle

26.01.2015
Seemore

Have you ever been on holiday and itched to see the place by bike only to find it impossible to find any bicycle to do it on? You are not alone. The SEEMORE project has been making traditional holiday destinations more cycle friendly. Sometimes, solutions can be very simple. The weapon of choice was persuasion and the good results are yet another example of how cycling just makes sense.

The 14 project partners covered 8 coastal tourist destinations in Europe. By targeting established destinations, the project aimed at adapting existing infrastructure to make it more cycle-friendly. Co-funded by the EU’s Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, the SEEMORE project targeted “soft measures” in order to foster more awareness and interest in cycling among visitors. The goals of the project, which covered the 2012 to 2015 period, were the following:

• Increase visitors’ awareness of sustainable mobility;
• Strengthen the co-operation between the mobility and tourism sectors;
• Shift travel behaviour of tourists to sustainable transport modes;
• Communicate and transfer experiences to other tourist regions.

The focus was on ways of promoting cycling through soft measures such as information and communication campaigns. Infrastructural investments can often be seen as the main way of promoting cycling and while they are essential to a good cycling environment, they are not the only way of promoting cycling. The SEEMORE project found five “soft” ways of effectively doing so: increasing bicycle rental in hotels, introducing bicycle sharing schemes, availability of cycling tours, making public transport links bicycle friendly and the introduction of “bike & bed” quality labels. The project also saw some complimentary infrastructure and services being established in Dobrich (Bulgaria) and Bohuslän (Sweden).

One very simple but effective way of getting tourists on saddles is by providing them with bicycles. The partners targeted the hotels with an information campaign that aimed to show that, by offering bicycles, they provide an additional service that is very often appreciated. In order to gage the effect that the provision of bicycles by hotels would have among tourists, a baseline study was carried out. Furthermore, the study demonstrated that the demand for this sort of service already existed among the tourists. “Bike & bed” quality labels were also introduced in Pomerania for accommodation that was equipped for hosting bicycles. In addition to accommodation-based bicycle provision, steps were also taken towards setting up or expanding bicycle sharing schemes in Dobrich, Limassol and Malta.

bike sharing2_Limassol

Additional measures set out to make existing infrastructures bicycle-friendly. Facilitating the transport of bicycles on public transport helped make cycling easier and more attractive to tourists. Here, the partners took on the task of lobbying the relevant public transport authorities. By targeting political support for their proposals to incorporate bicycle transport on existing public transport lines, successful campaigns were undertaken in Bohuslän (train line) and Malta (bus network). Guided tours also proved effective in promoting the use of bicycles among tourists. This was particularly effective in Limassol, where a number of operators set up tours and a free weekly ‘Friday Night Bike’ event was set up which attracted each time between 100 and 140 participants throughout the year 2013.

Friday Night Bike3

By bringing together actors from both the tourism and transport sectors, the project aimed to stimulate a more comprehensive assessment and find practical solutions for all. This involved facilitating communication on practical and technical issues. An imaginative, problem-solving approach was adopted which resulted in relatively cheap measures being implemented that, in many cases, had benefits for both tourists and locals. For more information go to the SEEMORE project website.