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Why mountain bike tourism?!

Because it is worth it! Bold argument? True. So let me explain.


Lilaw Kawani, Corporate Communication at Allegra Tourism

Darco Cazin, Founder of Allegra Tourism


The rise of bikes

The success of mountain biking as a driver for summer tourism is far too often put into question although the market is growing constantly. Due to Covid, the sector gained massive momentum in the past year. In Switzerland the number of bikes sold were 38 percent higher in the pandemic year than the previous year. The sales figures also show a strong increase of E-Bikes. This trend is also manifesting in other European countries. In general, bikes are becoming more popular in our society because of three important megatrends: neo ecology, which describes a higher sense of responsibility for our environment, the new mobility, which reflects the current dynamics in mobility and urbanization, that displays a rapid rise in the number of people living in urban areas.

Market potential of mountain bike tourism

The mountain bike tourism market is far from being saturated. In general, mountain bike tourism has a huge potential to balance winter and summer business as some pioneer mountain bike destinations present incredible numbers from their last summer season, such as the Bikerepublic Sölden or the canton of Grisons in Switzerland. Mountain bike tourism is still in the second stage of a classic market cycle. This means that now is the perfect time to launch mountain bike tourism in your destination.

Mountain bike tourism starts with a business model

To be successful in mountain bike tourism, you need a systematic approach. One of the first steps is a proper business model. It determines the framework to develop a product - no matter if you are a destination, a hotel or a mountain railway. The business model, basically, defines who the target group is and what their needs are. Based on these findings, action items can be established, cost drivers and revenue streams can be calculated. The economic returns are triggered at different service providers (lodging, catering, transportation services and many others) whereas the main investment occurs during planning, construction and maintenance of mountain bike trails. These bases are necessary for fundamental considerations about potential users, the necessary assets and the ROI function in mountain bike tourism. To spill the beans: to be successful in mountain bike tourism you need to develop a business model.

Economic value of mountain bike tourism

To illustrate the economic value of mountain bike tourism, we will show you some figures on the current market potential, using our hometown Pontresina as a showcase. If you draw different circles around Pontresina, you can estimate how many people live in a different radius.

  • More than 3 million people can reach Pontresina for a reasonable day trip.

  • More than 23 million people can reach Pontresina for a trip that includes at least one overnight stay.

  • More than 76 million people can reach Pontresina within a half day journey.

Most of these people are not mountain bikers. But those who are spend a total of almost 1 million days on their mountain bikes away from home. During these days, they spend more than 180 million Swiss Francs. That’s the market potential for Pontresina. This calculation does not take into account competition, the town’s capacity, accessibility or regional income variations. However, it is interesting to note that a market share of 1% would bring almost 2 million Swiss Francs into the town.

In addition, the above outlined three tiers of population circles also allow us to calculate a recommended investment ratio for a destination. In the case of Pontresina, 48% of investments should be targeted at clients who spend one or two nights. 38% of the funds should go into developing an offering for bike riders that stay more than two nights. This investment ratio varies greatly from destination to destination.

Developing mountain bike tourism together with experts

So, one argument can be strongly supported: There is a huge potential of mountain bike tourism that is growing every year. To be successful, it needs a well-prepared development plan.

Allegra has developed successful mountain-bike destinations since 2003 and remains actively involved in shaping bike-related tourism. We are considered a pioneer in the field of mountain bike tourism and love to share our knowledge. That’s why we’ve created an online course that allows international destinations to develop their customized 5-year action plan to become a profitable mountain bike destination. Interested? Here’s more information on the course and how you can get in touch with us.


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