How many overseas tourists come to mountain bike in the UK?

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  • How many overseas tourists come to mountain bike in the UK?
  • Mackem
    Member

    Weather would be the (perceived) problem I suppose.

    andypaul99
    Member

    definately the weather sitting here in the tatry mountains ill be honest cannnock chase or sherwood pines really isnt that appealing at the mo 😀

    chief9000
    Member

    Why don’t you think about what might tempt you into going to places like france, Switzerland and Spain. What do those places have that we don’t. Are people likely to pay money to travel to another country to go to a trail centre when they have impressive riding of their own? I certainly wouldn’t.

    On top of that, the U.K. is expensive, dull, has terrible weather and food and is pretty much all round crap in comparison to almost every other part of Europe. probably get stabbed and you bike nicked too.

    Hope that sums it up for you 😆

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    Certainly see occasional discussion about trips to Scotland or maybe the Lakes on one of the German forums. Nowhere near as much as trips to Garda, SüdTirol/Dolomites, Slovenia, etc. though.

    nick1962
    Member

    Saw European and American tourists biking every weekend I went to Glentress last summer.Mostly under their own steam but some were on guided trips.

    Met a few ~ there were some cool guys from Switzerland who did a roadtrip of the whole UK, bringing only full on DH bikes~ nonetheless, they were singing the praises of the British scene.

    A family from Holland, who were firmly in the XC lycra camp, who were exploring Scotland.

    I also have a Swedish friend who makes regular trips over to the UK to ride.

    Even though we lack the sizable mountains and reliable weather of much of the rest of the world, there is a remarkable number and diversity of riding opportunities in a relatively small area.

    Can’t remember the actual visitor numbers off the top of my head, but the relative percentage of overseas vs domestic visitors is tiny.

    bland
    Member

    Roughly speaking?

    Are we missing a trick here? We have some pretty good riding and well established trail centres, not to mention historic passages etc but we seem to get very little in the way of foreigners riding here?

    Premier Icon allyharp
    Subscriber

    I don’t know enough about the European competition, but Scotland has a lot going for it in mountinbiking terms: mature access laws that allow you to ride (and camp) anywhere; the mountains are small enough to go up as well as down them; the country is small enough that you’re never too far by car from some facilities; there are no predators to be weary of; relatively little crime. The weather still sucks though.

    It’s all about promotion I suspect. We see plenty of magazine ads for French/Swiss/Spanish trips, but do we promote ourselves to them in that same way?

    Premier Icon trusty
    Subscriber

    Plenty of overseas riders at glentress last weekend, and passed a group over from Sweden at Inners as well. Don’t see many round here in Shropshire tho!

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    I’m not convinced that the weather is a major factor as the Scottish hills are full of foreign walkers every year.*

    Personally, I think it’s down to that definition of “what is mountain biking?” again.

    Trail centres: Why come to the UK when all trail centres are much of a muchness?

    “Big country” biking: Not really promoted. Few well established routes.

    Canal path/cycletrack: Not really available in some of the most scenic areas.

    Surveys indicate that the midge is a major factor in putting folk off returning to Scotland 🙂

    * The West Highland Way must be one of the most popular walks in Europe.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Bumped into a huge bunch of germans last time I was in Wales, and you get allsorts at Glentress.

    What surprises me a bit- not tourists, but we get questions most weeks from applicants to our uni- “what’s the riding like” “where can I park my bike” “You’re well located for innerleithen” etc- it’s a genuine consideration when people are picking out degrees and postgrads.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    Just thinking aloud…

    We are missing a trick. There are some decent Sustrans routes (e.g. the English C2C) that involve some mountain biking of the non-gnar variety but what we don’t have is a well-established infrastructure for some more “out-there” routes. Something like the Cairngorms Circuit could be a proper money-spinner for tourism if it was waymarked (some) and promoted, with things like luggage-carrying providers. Alternatively, establishing a base somewhere like Kinlochewe or Kinlochleven and doing lots of day rides in that area would attract a certain type of rider. I’ve no idea if either of these could be made into a commercial success though. Maybe it’s a question of “if you build it, they will come”?

    toemul
    Member

    They certainly come walking in these trail type places.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I know 2 that are coming this summer….

    In general things like the 7 stanes works in attracting people but the down sides are
    Weather
    Distance between
    Price of accommodation
    Need a car

    I’d like to think I could get 6 nights fully catered in the Lakes over summer with 5 days guiding/driving/shuttling etc for £500 but I would not be that sure…

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    isn’t that what IMBA and the like are supposed to do?

    round here DIMB (the german equivalent) spent an awful lot of time and effort, with local riders, and it didn’t take all that long to get some local business to sponsor the signposting etc. Over 2 years or so there are now 21 fully waymarked MTB XC routes, from easy peasy to 1000m hilly climby rides, and the latest seems to be more of a man-made flow trail. That’s just in the locality. Over 500km of trail, and more vertical than Everest. And that’s in addition to general cycling paths, much of which are hardpack gravel (at least the same amount again, easily).

    And then the next forest (Pfalzerwald) has a shed load of waymarked MTB trails too.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    Price of accommodation
    Need a car

    And for the North and Scotland… the price of a ferry!

    Cost me more like €700 last time Amsterdam-Newcastle. Not looking forwards to this year’s wallet raiding prices for this August.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    andytherocketeer wrote:

    isn’t that what IMBA and the like are supposed

    Is that supposed to be a joke?

    I’ve never met anyone involved in the IMBA. I’ve never heard of them doing anything (at least not in Scotland). We do have DMBinS (http://www.dmbins.com/) but that doesn’t seem to have resulted in any concrete activity. It’s not for the want of ideas – there are lots of small groups of mountain bikers would would be keen to see more stuff going on – it’s mostly down to lack of funding. I was speaking to someone who attend a recent DMBinS conference and of all the folk present, he was the only one who could have actually provided funding.

    [video]http://vimeo.com/52391555[/video]

    The cost of travel and accommodation isn’t putting off the thousands who come over for hillwalking (less luggage might make it cheaper of course) or for the thousands of road cyclists/tourers.

    Well the Mendip AONB started promoting riding a few years back but when numbers increased and the ramblers started whining they quickly scrapped the promotion. This kind type of conservatism is a microcosm of the problem in England and tourist promotion is focussed on “castles and cream teas”. Wales is doing it right, promoting active tourism IMO despite it being wetter than an otters pocket.

    moridinbg
    Member

    Because there are no real mountains here? Apart from the 1200-1300m thingies in Scotland?

    globalti
    Member

    In the last 20 years of tramping and cycling out to remote Scottish bothies I’ve suspected that somewhere in Germany there’s a guide book to Scotland with a chapter that names many of the bothies, because you meet a heck of a lot of Germans in bothies. Never got round to asking one of them though.

    One major hindrance to tourism in Scotland is the midges – really. There have been books written about the effect of the midge on the Scottish economy. When I was a child every family holiday was climbing and camping in Scotland and many’s the time we’ve got through the week to Wednesday or Thursday then decided to bin it and go home, so bad were the midges. That said, the same decision has been made for bad weather too.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    By the power of the googleweb I tell thee that Visit Scotland says 1,000,000 but I think that’s UK visitors and sustrans says £14 billion

    fasgadh
    Member

    There are guidebooks in Germany with routes in Scotland which combine public transport with cross country walks. If a bothy is on one of these routes then there will be a lot of users from Germany.
    The lack of established routes is a plus point, as here there is still a feeling of exploration and uncertainty which is attractive for some of us.

    Big problems: The cost of getting here through England which is not so attractive due to laws bordering on persecution of cycling (this works both ways as it is a pig getting to the Mainland from Scotland with a bike); midges; weather.

    grum
    Member

    Big problems: The cost of getting here through England which is not so attractive due to laws bordering on persecution of cycling

    Bit over the top!

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    I don’t think that weather is a major barrier. I think Midges are an issue in Scotland

    UK will never have the mass appeal of the Alps. But there will be others for whome the UK hits the nail on the head. I met some Belgians rock climbing in the lakes a few summers back. Sure they could have been clipping lime stone bolts for less. but some people like it off key

    I feel really sorry for all the people who hate it here

    “On top of that, the U.K. is expensive, dull, has terrible weather and food and is pretty much all round crap in comparison to almost every other part of Europe. probably get stabbed and you bike nicked too. “

    ianv
    Member

    If I lived on the continent, I don’t think the uk would be my cycling destination of choice. Crap weather, different currency, less convenient access etc. Trail centres are all well and good, but how many ffc centres are there in a sunny part of France, plus 80+ lift assisted resorts for the summer? And if you not bothered by the weather you have awesome areas like the Vosges.

    The uk trail centres are only ever going to attract a very niche type of foreign nutter, considering the quality and attractiveness of the alternatives nearer to home.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    When brits go to “The Alps” they tend to mean Morzine, and jumpy swoopy man-made.

    When Germans go to the Alps they mean anything from Morzine in the west to Slovenia in the East. And it’ll be largely big day out XC, lots of vertical climb, little or no uplift. Or an Alpencross/Transalp hut to hut tour. So you’d think that at least Scotland, Skye, Cairngorms, maybe lakes would be in with a shout?

    Quick straw poll on German forum shows almost every single thread on holiday destinations is for Garda, Dolomites and Transalps. Also see lots of post ride pics for Gran Canaria (nowhere in the UK can match that weather).

    Search for Scotland finds a handful of threads. Most have no replies. 2 have real replies. One of those is for Skye, and clearly states in the text “The 4-5 bikeparks in Scotland interest us less”. The one about Scotland C2C gets replies for the English C2C.

    Can’t speak for other mainland Europe nations, other than seeing lots and lots and lots of Dutch and Danish registered cars with bike racks in Slovenia.

    So there is genuine interest. But looks mainly to be small isolated, dedicated riders that want something different.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Subscriber

    Interesting. There are quite a few sites I’d look at if searching for out-of-the-way routes in Scotland but they aren’t always easy to track down or they’ve not been updated in quite a while (this was long one of my favourites). When I kicked off my blog I’d thought about a Routes section as a way of trying to fix that (hence the name). I must give it some more thought.

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