The number of Brits venturing on cycling specific holidays rose by around 30 per cent between 2005 and 2006 according to many tour operators. Research conducted by market research group Mintel says that 450,000 cycling holidays were taken in 2006 alone. This equates to roughly £120 million in revenue for the cycle tourism industry.
The report suggests that this year's figures will not be the pinnacle and should rise further through 2007. Mintel estimates that a further 2.25 million holidays taken by Brits last year included some form of cycling, such a day's bike hire or a mounted city sightseeing tour. Research speculates that there are six million Brits planning a cycling holiday for the future.
"Britain is becoming a nation of cycling enthusiasts. Cycling has been given a new lease of life by recent environmental issues, such as sustainable transport, carbon emissions and eco travel," commented Richard Cope, senior travel consultant at Mintel.
"An increased interest in health and fitness and this year's Tour de France will also help keep the nation pedalling," he added. "Although fly and flop still dominates the mass market, many well-travelled and well-off consumers are growing bored with sun worship and are seeking more active experiences.
"Cycling is a great way to explore the hidden secrets of a region, enjoy intimate contact with local culture and an opportunity for travellers to feel good about benefiting local economies.
"Whilst Britons cycle less than many other Europeans, we take more frequent holidays. Our cycling breaks do not have to be the preserve of cycling clubs and the Tour de France-emulating hardcore. Cycling holidays will also appeal to families, sightseers, and those simply seeking relaxation and escape from the crowds."