More cycling, more tourism seems to be our slogan these days. Where did the people of that
modern world that wanted a relaxing holiday go? They’ve gone cycling. They’ve abandoned the
comfort and relaxation they find on cruises, to get out and try something new; among the new
and unique experiences out there, the average tourist is choosing two wheels. And they’re always
going back for more, knowing they’re not the only one!
According to the FIAB (Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta), a non-profit organization,
the number of tourists on bicycles is constantly increasing. This positive Italian trend reflects the
European trend as well, which according to research done by the ANCMA is worth 44 million
euros, above cruise profits that are slightly over 39 million euros.
In Italy, it’s estimated that the potential value of this trend is around 3.2 million euros, being
advantageous to the economy of single territories, and most of all to the structures and places
that can offer biking-related hospitality, accompanied by quality food and wine.
What kind of tourist is getting out on a bike? In June 2017, market research conducted by ESP
GroupM Consulting e Sinottica TSSP gave us an interesting identikit of the passionate Italian
cyclist. The survey says that 10.4% of Italians are attracted to the sport. Out of the Italian
population of about 5.5 million people, 18.4% go biking at least once a week. Regular cyclists
and mountain-bikers that ride more frequently amount to 2 million out of 23.6 million athletes
(more than 1.8%). It is thanks to these athletes that cycling has become one of the top 5 most
popular sports in Italy.
Getting further into the details, the analysis tells us that in the competitive world, road cycling
holds the lead with 54% of bike-riders, beating out MTB with 38.3% of bike-riders.
This situation capsizes in the tourism sector, where according to the monitoring done by Eurac
Research—that registers cycling data within the Alpine region for touristic purposes– there have
been 18.7 million people using MTBs and 15.7 million people that prefer road cycling.
With the classic road bike or with an off-road bike, or even with one of the modern “fixies”, exist
touristic destinations, that are very much praised by the cycling world, such as the Madonna del
Ghisallo Sanctuary in Magreglio, in the region of Lombardia, above Lake Como, where tourism
has always been present (even religious tourism) through cycling.
Carola Gentilini, the Ghisallo Cycling Museum director, explains: We just finished our 11 th
season (we re-open in March), with a record number of visitors: 13,000 this year! The most
intense and exciting months were March (upon re-opening), May with the 100 th annual Giro
d’Italia, and October, months in which we understood that to promote cycling as Fiorenzo
Magni wanted, we had to create different events and involve different targets of people to really
make our museum come alive. Our special quality is that we are very closely connected to the
history and memorabilia of cycling, from all the champions, that we want to hold close through
the future, just like the sport of cycling wants: to keep the two-wheel passion alive..
Today cycling tourism can involve any kind of place, from the flatlands to the hills and
mountains, and even in the unexpectedly bike-friendly cities like Milan, that have also
understood and adapted to the potential of this antique, yet new method of transport to explore a