East-Flanders invests in cycling tourism. Tourists can see, do, taste and experience the Homeland of Cycling.
Context
Cycling is part of the genetic make-up of the residents of the East-Flanders. Races draw huge crowds and result in a spontaneous festival.

Objectives
1) Tourists can enjoy the spectacle and atmosphere of a classic cycling race (see)
2) Tourists can experience how it is to cycle on the famous bergs and cobblestones and go for a ride (do)
3) Connecting cycling with: the exploration of the landscape, the regional products, the cultural heritage (taste and experience)

Implementation
Homeland of Cycling creates different cycling experiences for an international audience. Actions:
- Cycling route infrastructure: 115 cycling routes, create your own route (cycle ‘nodes’ where cycling paths intersect), thematic routes (Tour of Flanders route, Plan Beer route, Eddy Merckx route).
- Experience centre ‘Tour of Flanders’ (museum, workshops and shop)
- Guided tours by famous ex-cyclists
- Race day tourism (experience the start or finish of a professional race)
- Tour of Flanders cyclo ‘We ride Flanders’ and ‘Retro ronde’
- Linking cycling to regional products: local food and beverages, beer, bars,…
- Admire the landscape through the cycling events. Slow TV experiment.
- Cycling for disabled people.
- Knowledge and product development on cycling tourism with private partners, government and knowledge centres.

Stakeholders
Municipalities, cycling race organisers, lodging sector, SMEs active in cycling, social economy, media

Resources needed

A sports culture, event and/or personality
Sports infrastructure and maintenance
Digital platform and communication
Staff

Evidence of success

Thousands of cycling tourists every year

Difficulties encountered

Lessons learned:
Cycling on cobblestones and bergs is rather hard. Walking is more attractive to a broader spectrum of people.
Infrastructure (cycling nodes, bike rental,…) is key!

Potential for learning or transfer

Regions with a sports culture, important sports event and/or a famous sports personality, can easily create a tourism product.
A cooperation project with Une Autre Provence (Mont Ventoux, France) illustrates this.
Project
Main institution
Economic Council of East-Flanders
Location
Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium (Belgique-België)
Start Date
January 2016
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

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