blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Unlock revenue streams in cycling tourism

8 min read

The cycling tourism market is growing, driven by the increasing focus on health, wellness, and adventure.

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Understanding Cycling Tourism

Cycling tourism is defined as recreational visits, either overnight or day visits away from home, where leisure cycling is a fundamental and significant part of the trip. It includes more than 2.2 billion cycle tourism trips and 20 million overnight cycle trips annually in Europe, with an estimated economic impact of €44 billion. The EU supports cycling tourism as a form of sustainable tourism, financing projects like long-distance cycle routes to enhance its appeal​​.

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Cycling tourism’s popularity stems from its numerous benefits. It promotes health and well-being by offering an active holiday choice, provides unique access to nature away from urban environments, aligns with increasing desires for sustainable and low-impact holidays, and is part of the broader adventure tourism trend, offering an exploration of remote locations and unspoiled landscapes. These factors combined make cycling tours an appealing option for a growing number of people seeking more than just a traditional vacation experience.

The global cycle tourism market was valued at USD 116.73 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from 2023 to 2030​​.

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Market Growth and Trends in cycling tourism

One of the major trends propelling this market is the rising popularity of e-bikes. These bicycles have opened up cycling tourism to a broader audience by making it easier for people to navigate rugged terrain and for older individuals to participate actively. The sales of electric bikes in the U.S. alone jumped by 145% in 2020, highlighting the growing interest in cycling as a form of tourism and adventure​.

Social media is also driving market growth, with influencers and users sharing their cycling adventures and inspiring others to explore the world on two wheels. This digital word-of-mouth fosters a community of cyclists eager to experience adventure travel, contributing significantly to the industry’s expansion​​.

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Cycling tourism appeals to a wide range of demographics, particularly groups and solo travellers.

The group segment, which includes travellers participating in outdoor recreational activities and sustainable travel, captured around 45% of the market share in 2022. The demand for solo cycle travel is also rising, with significant growth expected in the coming years.

Regionally, Europe holds the largest market share, attributed to well-developed cycling infrastructure and governmental priorities on bicycle lanes, car-free city centres, and bike safety. However, the Asia Pacific region is forecasted to witness the fastest growth, driven by increasing environmental awareness and governmental initiatives to promote cycling tourism.

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Innovations in cycling tourism

Innovations in cycling tourism, including the provision of reliable rental bicycles that require minimal maintenance and can travel longer distances with less effort, are enhancing the overall experience for tourists and cyclists. These advancements, along with various cycling packages offering additional activities and learning opportunities, are enticing more people to explore cycling tourism.

Various factors, including a rising interest in fitness, growth in the overall tourism industry, and an increasing number of bicycle users in Europe further underpin the cycling tourism market’s growth. Despite challenges such as adverse climatic conditions and language barriers, the emergence of electric bikes and a growing emphasis on unique and authentic travel experiences are expected to continue driving market expansion.

Diverse Cycling Tourism Experiences

Diverse Cycling Tourism Experiences expand across various interests, terrains, and intensities, catering to many cyclists. Here’s an exploration of the various forms this burgeoning sector takes:

Road Cycling

This category is for those who enjoy the speed and challenge of smooth asphalt. Often competitive, road cycling attracts individuals who prefer solitary rides or small group dynamics. The routes can range from scenic short rides to more demanding rides stretching up to a whole day’s worth of riding. Minimal luggage and high mobility characterize this group, with services facilitating luggage transport from one stay to another being highly valued. 

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Family Cycling

Catering to families, especially those with children up to 14 years old, family cycling tours blend moderate biking distances with child-friendly activities. Post-pandemic, there’s been a notable rise in family-oriented cycling holidays, which require provisions like child seats or tandem bikes. These tours are not just about cycling but are packaged with other leisure activities, ensuring a holistic family holiday experience.

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Touring and Expeditions

This segment is for those who see cycling more as a means to an end rather than the core activity. Tour cyclists appreciate the physicality of biking but are equally interested in the cultural and scenic vistas along their route. The experience is more leisurely, with guided tours and sightseeing spots along the way. The key to capturing this market is to ensure a rich tapestry of local attractions and activities beyond cycling.

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers seek adventure on rough terrains, enjoying the physical challenge and the thrill of navigating through forests or mountainous areas. Mountain biking typically attracts 25-45 individuals who prefer exploring well-defined trails for a few hours a day before engaging in other leisure activities. 

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Gravel Riding
Gravel riders embrace the freedom of mixed-terrain adventures, blending the endurance of road cycling with the off-road excitement of mountain biking. Gravel riding attracts cyclists who enjoy the diversity of gravel paths, backroads, and scenic byways, offering a unique blend of physical challenge and exploration. Typically appealing to a wide age range, gravel riding is about discovering new landscapes at a pace that allows for both physical exertion and the appreciation of natural surroundings, often leading to full-day excursions or weekend adventures.

blog - Growing Cycling Tourism market

Tailoring Services to Meet Market Demands

The key to capitalizing on the cycling tourism boom lies in understanding and catering to cyclists’ diverse needs. This includes offering bike rentals, organizing guided tours, ensuring the availability of cycling-friendly accommodations, and even leveraging technology to enhance the cycling experience.

Businesses can thrive by adapting to trends such as the rise of e-bikes, which make cycling tours accessible to a broader audience, and by focusing on sustainable and authentic local experiences that resonate with today’s environmentally conscious travellers.

Cycling tourism, which fuels over half a million jobs in the EU, offers small businesses dual revenue streams: bike tours and rentals.

Bike tours, varying from long-distance travels and organized events to city exploration and destination rides, enrich local economies and integrate seamlessly with urban infrastructure advancements. 

Bike rentals cater to tourists without bikes, enhancing service versatility with options for various durations and additional cycling gear. This combination of tours and rentals taps into the market’s diverse needs, presenting a robust opportunity for growth in local communities.

The most sought-after service from companies by road cycling tourists is bicycle rental, aligning with the fact that 80% of them rent a bike upon arrival at their destination.

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The expansion of the cycling tourism market offers a golden opportunity for local businesses and economies. By embracing the unique needs of cycling tourists and staying attuned to the evolving trends within this niche, stakeholders can unlock significant economic benefits and foster a sustainable, vibrant tourism sector centered around the joy of cycling.
Embracing cycling tourism not only promotes health and environmental sustainability but also opens up new avenues for adventure and exploration, making it an increasingly popular choice among modern travelers seeking meaningful and active holiday experiences.

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