Research by Sustrans Scotland has revealed that the sector was valued at £345 million to the Scottish economy in 2015.
The findings, released as part of a new Leisure Cycling Tourism Guide by Sustrans Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, are based on the usage estimates of the National Cycle Network.
More than 152,000 tourist visits to Scotland each year are by holidaymakers who spend a day or more cycling during their stay. Of the 7,104 accommodation listings on the Visit Scotland website, fewer than one in seven are listed as being cycle friendly.
To help encourage more businesses to accommodate cyclists, Sustrans Scotland and Scottish Enterprise have collaborated with the Cycle Tourism Forum to create a Leisure Cycling Tourism Guide.
The guide offers advice and guidance to tourism providers on how they can make their businesses more accommodating for cyclists. Sustrans Scotland national director John Lauder said: “In order to realise the full potential of cycling opportunities in Scotland, it is vital for businesses to understand the needs of leisure cyclists.
“The cycling market is thriving and has the potential to become one of Scotland’s top tourism activities. “Businesses in the sector need to wake up to this huge, untapped opportunity. Many will only to make a few minor adjustments, to feel the benefits offered by the sector.”
Director of food and drink tourism and textiles, Scottish Enterprise Danny Cusick said: “The launch of this toolkit represents a milestone in our efforts to encourage more tourism businesses to enhance and innovate their product offering in response to the burgeoning demands of the cycle tourism industry in Scotland.
“The guide is packed with really useful market insights, practical tips and case studies on how to increase profit margins and market share and I would definitely recommend it to all aspiring and existing tourism businesses particularly those who are looking to invest and internationalise to attract even more cycle visitors to these shores.”
Ben Mardall from Wild Scotland concluded: “We are delighted to support the launch of Leisure Cycling Tourism Guide at our annual Conference. Scotland is already a popular destination for cycling but there is plenty of room for growth. We encourage businesses to download the guide so that we can help improve the overall experience for cycling tourists.”