Here is what Tourism New Zealand have to say about the booming cycle touring business:  “What do we know about this sector of travellers?

  • Between 2008-2012, 318,000 international tourists participated in cycling sports.
  • 54.2 per cent participated in on-road cycling, 45.8 per cent in mountain biking and 4.2 per cent in both.
  • Annually around 4 per cent of international holiday visitors do some sort of cycling sports while visiting New Zealand.
  • On average, cycling tourists spend more on their visit – $3800 compared with $2,500.
  • There is a significant high value segment in the cycling market with 22 per cent of international cycling tourists saying they spend over $5,500 on their visit to New Zealand.
  • International cycling visitors tend to be most interested in adventure tourism activities during their stay in New Zealand.
  • Markets that provide the most cycling tourists include Australia, UK, USA and Germany.”
Cycle Tourist
What a way to see the country

Having invested in the NZ Cycle Trail with the goal of boosting an economy in recession, the government were keen to see if their investment was paying dividends.  Here are some key findings from detailed research which involved surveys of trail users and local businesses over the December 2012 to March 2013 period. Their research sought to understand the scale of the impact on local business during the first season the trails were operating.

  •  The vast majority of trail users surveyed were visitors to the trail regions and most were New Zealand residents. The proportions who were domestic visitors varied between 57 and 96 per cent, reflecting the varying character and location of the four trails.
  • Overwhelmingly, 98 per cent of users said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with their cycle trail experience. Furthermore, 97 per cent of trail users said they were likely to recommend the trail to others.
  • The trail user surveys identified the proportion of users for whom the trail had been the main or only reason for their visit to the trail region. This varied from between two-thirds to one half of users on the Hauraki, Mountains to Sea and Motu Trails, to about one in twenty users of the Queenstown Trails.
  • These visitors typically spent one to three nights in the trail region and spent an average of between $131 and $176 per person per day, or between $173 and $743 per person per trip, depending on the trail.
  • The 439 local businesses surveyed in the case study regions attributed about 5% of their current turnover to the cycle trails and said that about 50 full-time positions had been created in their businesses as a result of the trails opening.
  • One in seven said they had expanded their business (added capacity or added new services) as a result of the trail opening in their region. In some cases these expansions were significant in terms of either capacity or services, but the majority were smaller, such as accommodation providers purchasing several bicycles for hire.
  • Overall about one-quarter of business survey believed that trail had been good for their business, and about half believed it would be good for their business in the future.

Source: Nga Haerenga -The New Zealand Cycle Trail Evaluation Report, Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation.

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Another group heading out from Hyde on the Otago Central Rail Trail

Cycle touring is growing in popularity globally.  It is no longer just for the intrepid unwashed traveller who can’t afford a train or bus!  Once you start chatting to your cycle touring customers, you’ll hear stories of places around the world they’ve travelled to just to cycle.  And they are spending good money doing it!

“I think they’ll spend more than typically you would expect, because a lot of people this is their passion and …. you’ll spend more money on your passion than your obligations” Chris Frick, Friendly Bike Guest House, Portland

Here is Oregon’s Business Case for being bike friendly:

Let’s Make Bikes (and their riders) Welcome!

“More bike-friendly towns and cities would also encourage visitors from the New Zealand Cycle Trail, who spend money in local communities”.  NZTA’s  Benefits of Investing in Cycling

Sometimes it is hard to be popular
Sometimes it is hard to be popular
A loaded bike needs a sturdy support and a thirsty rider needs refreshment
A loaded bike needs a sturdy support and a thirsty rider needs refreshment

Here are are some ideas for making BikesWelcome in your town/business specially aimed at attracting cycle tourists to visit your business and recommend you to others.

Care and Feeding of Cycle Tourists