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IBTC 2022: A bright future dawns for cycling tourism

IBTC 2022: A bright future dawns for cycling tourism


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January 20, 2022


IBTC 2022: A bright future dawns for cycling tourism


More and more regions and countries are focusing on cycling tourism. Everywhere in Europe there are new projects and initiatives that give ample scope for sustainable forms of recreation and mobility. And these projects will only increase in number in the future.


You could draw that positive conclusion after the two-day International Bicycle Tourism Conference (IBTC). It was now the third edition of the event, which, like last year, took place online due to the corona pandemic. More than a hundred professionals in the field of cycling tourism, cycling infrastructure, cycling policy and media logged in to the event platform to follow the 9 keynotes and 7 roundtables.


Impact of corona on cycling

As at the previous IBTC edition, the impact of the corona pandemic on cycling was highlighted. The first waves of infections had given a huge boost to bicycle use in Europe in 2020. And this has also had an effect on the cycling infrastructure. Herbert Tiemens, policy advisor to the municipality of Utrecht, saw numerous new cycle paths in large cities during his cycling trip to the Velo-city conference in Lisbon last summer, which in many cases will become permanent.


Bikepacking in Finland

Finland was strongly present in the IBTC program this time. The country is responding to the bikepacking trend, where cyclists make adventurous, multi-day trips through nature. This often happens with mountain bikes on unpaved paths. A network of trails has now been created in the southwest of the country and trails will follow in the part above the Arctic Circle in the coming years.


Luxembourg's ambitious plans

François Bausch, Minister of Mobility and Public Works, and Lex Delles, Minister of Tourism, presented the ambitious cycling policy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. For example, the number of kilometers of cycle paths is planned to be doubled from more than 600 to more than 1,000 km and there will even be cycle highways between some major cities. Excellent signage, free public transport, facilities such as repair stations along the way: everything indicates that the country will become a true cycling paradise within a few years.


Projects in Denmark and Flanders

There was also news from Denmark, which will roll out a national route network for cyclists and walkers. Marco Berends, a Dutchman living in Denmark, is closely involved in its design and gave the IBTC attendees an update on the status of this large-scale project. Johan Vanswijgenhoven from Toerisme Vlaanderen talked about the new iconic cycling routes in his keynote. This involves 9 thematic routes, which are interconnected. With these routes, Flanders wants to profile itself internationally as a cycling destination in the coming years.


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