Dozens of businesses in Ayrshire and Arran have already got on their collective bikes as they strive to make the region one of the most cyclist-friendly regions in Scotland.
And now even more are expected to sign up to the VisitScotland Cyclists Welcome Scheme, thanks to funding from Ayrshire and Arran Tourism.
The Scheme requires accommodation businesses to subscribe to a number of criteria, including:
- providing cyclists with somewhere safe and secure to store their bikes
- a space in which to dry outdoor clothing and footwear
- facilities to prepare packed lunches
- a supply of local cycling routes available for visitor reference.
Other criteria is stipulated for non-accommodation businesses, including knowing the location of the nearest bicycle repair shop and, where possible, having a supply of literature detailing local cycle routes.
VisitScotland Cyclists Welcome accreditation is free to members of the national tourism organisation’s Quality Assurance Scheme, but Ayrshire and Arran Tourism have funding for non-QA businesses to help promote their two-wheel credentials.
There is an opportunity for everyone from bike repair and hire shops, cafes and restaurants, visitor attractions, caravan and camping parks and serviced/self catering and hostel accommodationto have their first year of membership (normally £25 plus VAT) paid for. This will give them a seal of approval that cyclists visiting the region can instantly recognise.
With research carried out by Transform Scotland showing that the total value of cycle tourism – by residents and visitors, touring and leisure cycling – in Scotland is up to £239 million per year, cycling presents a real opportunity.
Annique Armstrong, Regional Director at VisitScotland, said:
“The stunning countryside and wide range of routes around Ayrshire and Arran make this region popular among cyclists. If a cyclist sees that a business is a member of our Cyclists Welcome Scheme, they know that they will have access to a range of facilities and information that will make their stay all the more convenient and memorable.
“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs, sustains communities and provides an international shop window for Scotland. Scotland has a global reputation for cycling and we need to make the most of the tourism opportunity here.”
Julie Sloan, Tourism Development Office at Ayrshire and Arran Tourism, said:
“There is a huge growth in the cycling market and Ayrshire and Arran Tourism are delighted to be working in partnership with VisitScotland to make the most of this opportunity.
“We aim to develop and promote cycling in the area and this is a great offer to join the VisitScotland Cyclists Welcome Scheme.We encourage many sectors to join and it helps to highlight to visiting cyclists that your business will welcome and cater for their needs. There is also potential to create cycle routes and trails linking together cyclist welcome businesses.”
Morag Anderson, who runs Thistleneuk Bed and Breakfast in Girvan with her husband Nigel, said:
“We always enjoyed welcoming cyclists who attended the annual Girvan road race and wanted to offer our facilities to new cyclists who wished to explore our wonderful Ayrshire coastline. We have seen more and more cyclists looking for specific facilities, especially clothes drying and special diets which we cater for, as well as the early starts.”
Alan Main, who runs The Bicycle Room in Troon, said:
“As a small independent bike retailer, I’m really looking forward to being part of the Cyclists Welcome Scheme. The shop is very customer-oriented with the emphasis on offering help and advice to cyclists of all ages and ability. We attract a fantastic cross section of customers, from the dedicated club member to the fair-weather recreational cyclist. Ayrshire has so much to offer in terms of leisure and tourism and I am looking forward to helping to promote the region as a member of the VisitScotland Cyclists Welcome Scheme.”
The full list of Ayrshire and Arran businesses currently taking part in the VisitScotland Cyclists Welcome Scheme are:
Kings Arms Hotel
Malin Court Hotel & Restaurant
Old Loans Inn
Walled Garden Camping & Caravan Park
Coila Guest House
Burnside Guest House
Barwheys Farm Self Catering
Cosses Country House
The Shore House
Best Western Kinloch Hotel
The Cathedral of the Isles
Kilmory Lodge Bunkhouse
Ferry Row B&B
The Douglas Hotel
Lochranza Youth Hostel
Auchrannie Country House Hotel
Ailsa Craig View
South Whittlieburn Farm
Auchrannie Spa Resort
Thistleneuk Bed and Breakfast
The Bicycle Room
For more information see: http://www.ayrshire-arran.org/our-work/cycling-tourism
Notes to Editors
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
Year of Food and Drink 2015
- 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
- Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
- A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
- For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland