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Press Release   •   Sep 07, 2015 10:44 BST

As the Aviva Tour of Britain reaches Scotland this week (8 September), VisitScotland is predicting a surge in interest in the already popular cycling tourism market.

With almost half a million visitors each year getting on their bikes and exploring the Scottish landscape, the national tourism organisation is hoping that such a high profile event as the Aviva Tour of Britain – which has a potential worldwide audience of more than 200 million viewers – will encourage even more to discover the country’s unique cycle routes.

Road cycling and mountain biking trips by domestic visitors over the last three years has contributed on average £114 million to the Scottish economy.

Latest statistics reveal that last year there were 284,000 road cycling and 191,000 mountain biking trips across the country. Visitors stayed more than 2 million nights and spent £123 million.

The Tour of Britain arrives in Scotland on Tuesday, 8 September when Stage Three enters Dumfries and Galloway before it finishes at Floors Castle, Kelso in the Scottish Borders. The following day Stage Four starts at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh – the first visit by a national tour to the Scottish capital since May 1999– before heading out through East Lothian and the Borders to Blyth, Northumberland.

The Tour of Britain last came to Scotland in 2013 when 21,000 spectators lined the Peebles to Drumlanrig Castle stage generating £427,404 for the local economy in Peebles and £334,404 in Dumfries. A survey conducted after the event found that 70% of spectators were ‘inspired to cycle more regularly’ as a result of their attendance.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:

“The Aviva Tour of Britain is a high profile, prestigious event and I hope the accompanying footage will inspire even more visitors to get on their bike saddles and explore the breathtaking landscapes of Scotland either by road, mountain, path or trail.

“Our country is already world-renowned for being one of the best destinations for mountain biking. With the Tour of Britain and the launch of the North Coast 500, given prominence by record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont’s epic non-stop ride, the country can boast that its incredible journeys on two wheels are not limited to the off-road tracks and trails.

“With continued popularity in cycling tourism there is a huge opportunity for the Scottish and local economies. From cycling tours around the incredible Highlands to mountain biking in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, hotels, restaurants and accommodation providers are amongst those businesses which can capitalise from this year-long leisure pursuit.”

VisitScotland is doing its part to ensure cyclists have access to the best quality facilities with the Cyclist Welcome Scheme – part of its quality assurance awards – with a total of 1106 establishments across Scotland already signed up.

A list of 15 ‘spellbinding cycling routes’ can also be found on the VisitScotland website http://www.visitscotland.com/blog/scotland/15-cycle-routes/

The popularity of cycling led to the creation of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling in 2013. The festival celebrated its third year in June when it boasted more than 80 individual events – including film showings, drama, art, talks and almost 20 cycle routes – over 15 days with visitors from as far as Italy, Germany and Norway, and some even cycled to Edinburgh from London.

It also featured the inaugural Capital Trail – a mountain bike adventure ride which covered 147 miles through the stunning landscapes and remote trails of southern Scotland.

Kim Harding, Director of Edinburgh Festival of Cycling said:

The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, now starting to prepare for its fourth year (9-19 June 2016), has been increasingly attracting visitors from further afield, with its reach now extending well beyond central Scotland, and has been listed as one of the UK's top cycling festivals.

“Edinburgh is the perfect stage for the festival, with its huge opportunities to explore, from the coast to the rugged hills and a wide range of visitor attractions which are accessible by bike, and its network of cycle paths giving easy access to the surrounding countryside in the Lothians, Borders and beyond.

“In 2015, the Capital Trail 230km 'Bike Packing' showcased the amazing opportunities on Edinburgh's 'door step' to explore the beautiful and rugged countryside, and the Original Edinburgh Night Ride took participants on a magical mystery tour round the lanes of East Lothian before returning to Edinburgh for a well-earned breakfast.”

Aviva Tour of Britain is supported by VisitScotland’s event directorate, EventScotland

The Tour is estimated to have a UK broadcast audience of 1 million viewers per day through live and highlights programming on ITV4 and British Eurosport. Broadcast to 120 countries around the world it has a potential reach of more than 200 million homes worldwide.

Cyclists Welcome Scheme: To qualify, the establishments must provideadditional facilities for visitors touring Scotland by bicycle, such as clothes-drying facilities and flexible eating arrangements to accommodate unpredictable journeys.

More information on cycling in Scotland can be found here:http://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/activities/cycling/ and on mountain biking in Scotland here: http://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/activities/mountain-biking/

For more on the Aviva Tour of Britain go to http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/

More on Mark Beaumont North Coast 500 challengehttp://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/visit-scotland/pressreleases/visitscotland-says-good-luck-mark-1200105

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’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
    • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
      1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
      2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
      3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
    • 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 events 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