The Slovenia Times

Slovenia losing money through slow cycling route development


In a 2012 study, the European Parliament assessed the value of cycling tourism to EUR 44bn a year. Since then, bicycle touring has become even more popular, thanks to technological development and electric bicycles.

Tourism services providers have also started adapting to this trend, for example by setting up bicycle stands in front of restaurants and hotels next to popular cycling routes.

"The development of cycling tourism is happening, the question is how we can make it faster," Lancaster said, noting that cycling routes were not only good for tourism but also for local population.

The European Cyclists' Federation plans to build 15 long-distance cycling routes by 2020 as part of the EuroVelo project to connect the entire Europe. In total, more than 70,000 kilometres of routes will connect 42 countries.

Slovenia is to become a meeting point of three routes of the EuroVelo network: the Mediterranean, Baltic-Adriatic and the Iron Curtain Trail.

The Mediterranean route and the Iron Curtain Trail run along the coast and the Prekmurje region in the north-east, respectively. They are marked yellow on the EuroVela map, which means developed and marked routes that have not been certified yet.

The Baltic-Adriatic route, which is still in the making, will enter Slovenia on the border with Austria, cross Maribor and Ljubljana and leave the country on the coast for Croatia.

Lancaster is optimistic about Slovenia's progress, noting that the country had a strong connection with Austria to Maribor.

He believes that all three routes could be completed in a few years's time if all stakeholders - including the state, municipalities and the national EuroVelo coordination centre - work well together.

The 2012 European Parliament study showed that 2.3 billion tourist cycling tours are recorded in Europe annually, generating 20.4 million nights.

The total contribution of cycling in general was assessed at more than EUR 200bn.


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