Kvarner Tourist Board Developing Cycling Tourism, Branding Itself as Outdoor Destination

By 22 February 2019

The Kvarner Tourist Board has successfully developed the region as an outdoor tourist destination over the last few years.

The quality of the infrastructure, as well as the beauty of the Kvarner region, perfectly complement the global trend of recreational sports. The estimate is that there are more than 60 million active cyclists in Europe, and that the number of cycling trips will increase by more than 10 percent over the next ten years. Thus, the Kvarner Tourist Board is actively working on the development of outdoor offers that are becoming one of the critical elements for the development of plans to extend the tourist season, reports HRTurizam on February 21, 2019. 

The "Strategic Plan of Kvarner Tourism Development with the Strategic and Operational Marketing Plan 2016 - 2020" defines sports tourism as a significant subgroup in the further development of Kvarner. The Kvarner Tourist Board, in cooperation with Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, started developing the "Operational Plan for the Development of Cycling Tourism in Kvarner", and the plan is currently in public discussion, followed by adoption, from the County of Primorje-Gorski Kotar.

As the primary steps in the development of cycling tourism, they are further developing cycling routes as well as marking accommodation offers ”Kvarner Family - Bike Friendly". Also, cycling routes will be systematically marked and linked, and training for bike guides will also be organized.

On the promotional side, the plan is to organize and support manifestations that are a form of promotion and raise the recognition of the region as a cycling tourism destination, but also promote the destination through various advertising platforms, such as online, offline, out-of-home and similar, the Kvarner Tourist Board explained.

"There is more than 2,500 km of marked hiking and biking trails in the Kvarner area, which is systematically being promoted.  In addition to the promotion of the paths, the promotion of manifestations is also happening, and therefore the Kvarner Tourist Board has provided special support for the organization of large outdoor events in the last few years, mostly in the pre-or post-season. Through such large international events, involving the best world teams/individuals, strong media coverage is ensured through direct television broadcasts, reports and announcements. Both viewers, as well as the participants and organizational teams, have the opportunity to get to know the whole region,” said the Kvarner Tourist Board, adding that just by hosting and supporting events of global importance, involving European or world champions, the recreational cyclist thusgets the chance to use the same route and compare their times with world champions.

"This creates motivation for progress,” emphasizes the Kvarner Tourist Board. 

Kvarner tourism only continues to grow, too. In 2018, there were 3,044,067 arrivals, which is 4% more than in 2017.

"Given that visitors are registered simply as ‘guests’ it is not possible to see how many of them are cyclists from the statistics, but the increase in cyclists in the Kvarner region (according to various surveys) is about 20% per year. For example, according to data from the eVisitor system, the number of overnight stays during the outdoor events in the Kvarner region is growing year after year. Since most of the outdoor manifestations are held before and after the season, this increase is the most visible in this period. Today, the offer of activities in nature is one of the key elements for the development of programs that can extend the tourist season in the destination,” the Tourist Board added. 

In order for cycling tourism to continue to develop successfully, it is important to work on accommodation that provides family bike services. However, along with custom accommodation, organized biking tours on the islands will also be offered. 

"Through the project of branding family accommodation with the Kvarner Family quality mark, implemented by the Kvarner Tourist Board, specialized Bike Friendly and Hike Friendly designs have been introduced for accommodation that are adapted to accommodate cyclists and hikers. Through the system of special criteria it is possible for family accommodation to specialize and adapt to this particular, growing market segment,” adds the Kvarner Tourist Board. Currently, there are almost 50 family households labeled as Bike Friendly or Hike Friendly.

With family accommodation, there are several specialized Bike Friendly hotels, campsites and hostels in Kvarner today. 

“Cycling tourists have the possibility of ferry and train transportation, renting bicycles, engaging licensed bike guides, and several bicycle services around Kvarner, local tourist agencies organize and offer themed bike tours and group bike guides, organized ‘Island hopping tours’ around the Kvarner islands as well as a specialized 'cruise and bike' cruise,” concluded the Kvarner Tourist Board. 

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