Cycle tourism at Velo-city 2018


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.

Governance 2 small

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.

Governance small

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.

Plenary 2

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.


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.


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.

Examples 2

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.


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