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Wheels of fortune

Cycling is big business, ten times more in tourism terms than whisky

Date : 28/06/2013

By the most conservative estimates, cycle tourists in Scotland are spending between £117.2 million and £239 million annually. That though, is still only first gear says The Value of Cycle Tourism report. 

“Much more could be done to brand Scotland as a must-visit destination for cycle tourists and leisure trips.” said Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland, the environmentally sustainable transport campaign body, who co-authored the report with Sustrans Scotland. 

“There is substantial room for growth in touring and leisure cycling and with appropriate promotion could make an even greater contribution to Scotland's economy."

In some ways though, Scotland is ahead of the game, with cycle tracks from the celebrated and challenging 7Stanes network in the Borders, to the miles of signposted national cycle routes, intended for those seeking more relaxed experiences in the saddle.  

A major opportunity exists though, to develop leisure cycling around Scotland’s existing top attractions.

“Our natural environment is the number one reason why people visit Scotland,” said Keith Brown, transport minister, backing up the Scottish government commitment to making cycling more accessible.  

“We are investing £3 million over this year and next in the Oban to Inverness cycle route.”

Abroad, places like France and California link their wine-making regions by cycle routes. Now, in Scotland, pedalling from distillery to distillery is likely to appeal to many, and, after a dram or two, there’s every opportunity for overnight accommodation providers too.