Cycling tourism adds over £650 million to the UK economy

by Search Gate staff. Published Wed 19 Aug 2016 13:40, Last updated: 2016-08-19
Study analyses the economic power of the peddle pound

People cycling on the National Cycle Network for leisure and tourism are adding over £650 million to the UK economy each year, according to research from charity Sustrans.

The study analysed the average amount spent by people on day trips and cycling holidays and found that they both bring significant money to local economies around the country.

The charity conservatively estimates that people who use the Network for holidays and day trips spend an average of £7 a day, although this figure is likely to be even higher for people who take cycling holidays.

The Network, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, was also found to directly support 15,262 full time equivalent jobs across the services industry, particularly in the food and drink sector where it supports over 10,000 jobs.

This year marks 20 years since Sustrans came up with the concept of the National Cycle Network which now stretches to all four corners of the UK and covers over 14,000 miles. The research suggests that popular parts of the Network make a substantial economic impact to local communities and are also important on a national scale.

The Diglis Hotel in Worcester is one of dozens of businesses that has benefited as a result of the National Cycle Network, in particular after Sustrans worked with Worcester City and Worcestershire County Councils to create a riverside loop, with a new bridge as the centrepiece.

Steve Pirone the General Manager of the Diglis House Hotel in Worcester, said: “The riverside is a very important part of the tourism industry in Worcester but until the bridge was built there was no way of getting from one side to the other. As a result of the bridge being built and the route being part of the National Cycle Network we have experienced a real benefit and I’m sure other businesses near the route have seen an increase in business too.

“There’s been at least a 20% increase in our bar and restaurant sales and we also think the new route will increase our hotel figures in the future, as it brings more walkers and cyclists to the area.”

Jason Torrance, Policy and Partnerships Director at Sustrans, said: “Since the National Cycle Network was first developed, usage has increased year-on-year, with people using it for all kinds of reasons, from using it to get to work and school as well as going on day trips and holidays.

“The economic benefits of quality walking and cycling routes are significant, both from tourism but also day to day, by reducing congestion, pollution and by enabling people to improve their health.

“The National Cycle Network has identified the potential for changing people’s everyday travel. If as a society we really want more people to get fitter and healthier by walking and cycling then we need to make it more appealing and a big part of that is by making roads safer.

“To enable this to happen, the government must provide consistent long-term funding for cycling and walking to be at least 5% of transport spending, and a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy that contains a long-term vision and targets, in the same way that already exists for our roads and railways.”

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