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The European Cycle Route Network EuroVelo: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Tourism

Lumsdon, L., Weston, R., McGrath, P., Davies, N., Peeters, P., Eijgelaar, E., Piket, P.
Bibliographical information:
Lumsdon, L., Weston, R., McGrath, P., Davies, N., Peeters, P., Eijgelaar, E., Piket, P. (2009). The European cycle route network EuroVelo: challenges and opportunities for sustainable tourism. Brussels, Belgium: European Parliament, Directorate General for Internal Policies, Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies, Transport and Tourism.

This study by CSTT and the UK Institute of Transport and Tourism evaluates the challenges and opportunities of developing a cycle tourism network across Europe, especially in relation to sustainable tourism development. The study focuses on EuroVelo, a network of 12 long distance routes managed by the European Cyclists’ Federation which is being developed in different countries by a wide range of partners. The market for cycle tourism in Europe is reviewed and a model of demand for EuroVelo is presented. Other main study aspects included a review of the carriage of cycles on trains and an evaluation of the potential of the Iron Curtain Trail. A large selection of case studies reflect insights and best practice in relation to the development of a long-distance cycle network in Europe by referring to tourism development, marketing practices, supporting facilities and monitoring. The evidence indicates that cycle tourists bring major benefits to localities which currently do not enjoy mainstream tourism development, but the growth of cycle tourism is uneven across Europe. A model was developed to estimate the value and volume of cycle tourism in Europe: the economic benefits can be considerable. Due to more environmentally friendly transport to their destination, cycle tourism contributes significantly less to climate change compared to other forms of tourism. Public transport integration for cycle tourists is limited: carrying a bicycle by rail is not always possible and in most cases not easy. EuroVelo is currently not an important transport or tourism network but the model shows that it has considerable economic potential if developed as such. The Iron Curtain Trail provides an opportunity to develop sustainable tourism in regions which have been hampered in previous decades by the very existence of the Curtain itself. Recommendations are given that further the development of both EuroVelo and the Iron Curtain Trail.
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