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On your mountain bike

Press Release   •   Jun 02, 2017 11:39 BST

An image from the Mountain Bike World Cup by Charne Hawkes

As the Highlands gears up for this weekend’s UCI Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup, a new study by VisitScotland has revealed that mountain biking among domestic visitors generates £43 million a year for the Scottish economy.

The national tourism organisation’s Insight department has produced a new report, Cycling Tourism in Scotland, which also reveals that mountain bikers spend 66 per cent more per night than those who cycle on a road or path during their holiday.

Newly analysed data shows that, typically, 122,000 people a year get on their mountain bikes while on holiday in Scotland, spending £355 per trip*.

The study also shows that 76 per cent of mountain biking visitors to Scotland are male. Most cyclists are aged between 35 and 44, while 25 per cent are 45-54 and 19 per cent are aged between 25 and 34.

Cycling Tourism in Scotland is published as thousands of fans from around the world prepare to descent on the Highlands tomorrow and Sunday (3-4 June) to enjoy the thrilling downhill action of the World Cup and the BUFF® 4X Pro Tour.

Supported by £100,000 through EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events directorate, the only UK-leg on the World Cup circuit will see the world’s fastest downhill riders go head-to-head as they race against the clock down the slopes of Aonach Mor at the iconic Nevis Range.

More than 250 of the sport’s biggest stars, including 2016 Downhill World Champions, British riders Danny Hart and Rachel Atherton, will be competing across the weekend as they battle it out for the Men’s and Women’s World Cup titles.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland really is a mountain biker’s dream. From the budding amateur to the hardened professional, there are trails to suit everyone. This new study shows just how valuable the sport is to our visitor economy, while big events such as the UCI Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup this weekend help to showcase Scotland’s mountain biking pedigree around the world. Scotland continues to attract world-class, high-profile international events that keep the eyes of the world on this country as the perfect stage.”

Organiser of the UCI Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup, Mike Jardine, from Rare Management, said:

“Scotland is recognised internationally as a world class destination for mountain biking. Its diverse landscapes, popular trail centres, challenging trails and enlightened land access make it a must-visit destination. Events like the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup have helped to raise the profile of the sport and increase its popularity further, driving tourism and investment into local communities.

"The World Cup is a unique family-friendly event and has gone from strength to strength since it came to the Highlands 15 years ago. This year we're once again looking forward to welcoming the world's best riders along with thousands of spectators who can look forward to witnessing some thrilling downhill action and a celebration of mountain biking in Scotland."

Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of The Highland Council said:

"Mountain biking has been a growth area for Highland tourism in recent years in part due to the range of both built and wild trails on offer. However, there’s nothing better at showcasing the area than a top international event and Fort William's Mountain Bike World Cup does precisely that. In addition to the economic benefit which exceeded £2.5million last year the event has also played a significant role in encouraging Highland youngsters to take up the sport - to the extent that some are now top riders in such events themselves."

Since 2013 EventScotland has invested £1,366,583 into supporting Mountain Bike events including the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, which last year attracted a record attendance of 22,000 people.

* Source: Great Britain Tourism Survey 2011-2015

For more information about the Mountain Bike World Cup, go to

To view Cycling Tourism in Scotland, visit


Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017