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The value of cycle tourism: opportunities for the Scottish economy


The report aims to demonstrate the value of the leisure cycle tourism sector to the Scottish economy and to set out a clear evidence base upon which the case can be made for further expansion of the sector in Scotland.


The research involved a review of the literature, an analysis of existing data, and a questionnaire survey of businesses within the hospitality, retail and cycle services sector.


The research identified four major areas of economic contribution from cycle tourism in Scotland: health benefits (£4 million/year), leisure cycle events (£5.6 million/year), leisure cycle-related infrastructure (£1.5 million/year), and expenditure by leisure cyclists (£106.2m-228.2 million/year). Their combined values range between £117.2 million and £239 million per year, depending on the source used. In addition to these amounts, leisure cycle tourism contributes £58.5m to the Gross Value Added (GVA) of Scotland. When combined with mountain biking, for which separate prior research has been conducted, the total value of cycle tourism in Scotland is estimated to be between £241 million and £362 million per year, with a cumulative annual contribution to GVA of £129m.


The report makes the following recommendations: strengthen leadership and coordination across the sector, e.g. by assigning the coordination and leadership role to a single body; deliver better collaboration between local/regional stakeholders; establish more comprehensive monitoring arrangements; focus promotional activities on key market segments; brand Scotland as a top destination for cycle touring; develop key themed routes (e.g. around whisky distilleries) for leisure cycle tourism; continue the development and marketing of cycle routes; enhance information provision and technology integration; continue to support cycle events, and extend this support to smaller events; and create a development strategy for the growth of cycle tourism.

Author Ivan Zovko; Transform Scotland
Published Year 2015
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support
  • Equity
    Rural Development
  • Sectors