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Cycling without borders: Developing successful transnational cycling products

23.03.2017
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Everywhere you look there is evidence that cycle tourism is booming.  According to a study published by the German Cyclists’ Federation (ADFC) at the beginning of March, the number of Germans taking cycle holidays has increased by 30% over the last two years (2014 – 2016).

The same study found that the Danube Cycle Route – which forms part of the European cycle route EuroVelo 6 – Atlantic-Black Sea – is by far the most popular destination for German cycle tourists outside of Germany (it was 17% more popular that Via Claudia Augusta in second place).  It is an impressive performance and reflects the development of dedicated services and infrastructure for cyclist along the route.

The Danube River is a perfect example of a destination that cyclists like to explore without being limited by national borders.  For example, cycling between Hungary, Croatia and Serbia you can easily enjoy the different cultures of the three countries on the same trip.  Consequently, creating transnational cycle tourism products can be just as important as developing them on a national level.  Indeed the possibility of visiting several countries by bike on one trip is a strength of the Danube region that really should be used to attract cycle tourists.

Last year the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) launched a high quality search engine for bookable offers on our website www.EuroVelo.com – one of the most visited cycle tourism websites in Europe.  One of the aims of this development was to highlight transnational cycling packages that exist around the continent. There are currently 44 products available, all linked to EuroVelo routes, which are promoted in English, French and German.  These can act as good examples to follow when developing transnational cycling products in the Danube region.

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For example, Bike Tour Cologne-Rotterdam connects the German and Dutch sections of EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route.  The nine day tour covers approximately 400 km and is self-guided.  The package includes accommodation, all breakfasts and some meals, a detailed guide of the route with GPS Track, luggage transfer and a hotline to ring in case of emergencies.  In addition, there many optional extras that customers can select, such as bike rental and transfer back to the starting point.

As the route follows the River Rhine in both countries it is very flat and there are lots of touristic services along the way, so the package is marketed at a wide target audience including families and ‘silver cyclists’ (people aged 50 and over).

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Of course packages such as these already cover the western end of the Danube Cycle Route but there is a lot of potential for these to be extended further along the route.  With cooperation between the service providers in the different countries this should be easily achievable with benefits for all, not least cycle tourists wanting to explore this corner of Europe but with the comfort and security of a tour operator to arrange the trip.

For more information about the ECF’s bookable offers search engine please email: eurovelo@ecf.com or call the Brussels office on: +32 2 8809 274. You can also take a look on our online available documents about commercial involvement.

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