Follow VisitScotland

On Top of the World

Press Release   •   Dec 19, 2017 10:00 GMT

Warren Sanders and Esther Tacke cycled round the world before taking over Galloway Cycling Holidays in Dumfries & Galloway

A pair of cycling fanatics – self-proclaimed “bike bores” – who spent four years spanning the globe on pedal power alone, found their dream cycling destination in Dumfries and Galloway.

Husband and wife, Warren Sanders and Esther Tacke, cycled 32,499 miles on their round-the-world trip, taking in Asia, USA, Europe and New Zealand, but it was on their last leg home through Scotland that they fell in love with the region – which they call an “absolute gem”.

Now the couple plan to draw on their own cycling experience and share their passion for Dumfries and Galloway – recently named in the top 10 destinations to visit in 2018, by influential German online travel magazine – to international visitors, particularly German and US visitors, through Galloway Cycling Holidays.

They took over the cycling tour company earlier this year, after the previous owner approached them on hearing the couple talk about their worldwide adventures.

The business was relaunched last month as they joined seven fellow tourism businesses on VisitScotland’s business development mission to Germany.

The three-day mission, organised by the national tourism body, saw industry partners travel to Hamburg and Stuttgart for one-to-one meetings with 16 key tour operators from the German market.

Germany is a major international visitor market for Scotland and was the second largest source market for visits and expenditure in 2016, with 355,000 trips amounting to £212 million in visitor spend.

Research shows that German visitors see Scotland as a destination for “romantic adventures” and like to venture off the beaten track and enjoy the country through walking and exploring.

Galloway Cycling Holidays offers a variety of routes and bespoke tours in the Dumfries and Galloway area from its base in Kirkcudbright.

Esther Tacke, who is German-born and co-owner of Galloway Cycling Holidays, said: “When we returned from our round the world trip, we actually cycled through Dumfries and Galloway as part of our journey home to Edinburgh. We knew the area already, but fell in love with the place again. We were down here last November on holiday – loved the place and its people, and went home to sell our flat. We moved down here in February and by the end of March we had agreed to take over the cycling holiday company.

“Cycling is a wonderful way to explore a region; slow enough to experience things and fast enough to get somewhere. Dumfries and Galloway has such a beautiful and varied landscape with a network of hundreds of miles of quiet cycle friendly roads. We have more history than most to offer. Along our 200 miles of coast and upland hills we have stories of Romans, pirates, smugglers, Vikings, reivers and enough castles, forts and special places to visit on a bike.”

Paula Ward, VisitScotland Regional Director said: “From Galloway Forest Park to our wonderful coastal routes, Dumfries and Galloway offers the avid cyclist an array of beautiful landscapes to explore.

“We were delighted Galloway Cycling Holidays could join us on our mission to capture the German market and with Dumfries and Galloway named as one of the top destinations to visit in 2018, we look forward to welcoming many more adventurous German visitors to the region.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change.”

The tourism industry partners included in the VisitScotland German development mission were:

●Caledonian Discovery

●Dolphin Spirit

●Dunkeld House Hotel

●Errichel House & Cottages

●Galloway Cycling Holidays

●Knockderry House Hotel


●Spirit Journeys

For more on Galloway Cycling Holidays go to


Link to VisitScotland’s German visitor research paper

Link to article on Dumfries and Galloway named in top 10 destinations for 2018

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
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • 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.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • 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)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017