EuroVelo and Cycle Tourism Conference Parallel Sessions: Session D – Developing experiences: The future of cycle tourism products


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 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