According to research from Sustrans, cycling on the National Cycle Network supports over 15,000 jobs and directly contributes £650m to the economy each year.
The research looked at the average amount spent by people on day trips and cycling holidays and found that they both bring significant revenue to local economies around the country.
Sustrans estimates that people who use the network for holidays and day trips spend an average of £7 a day, although this figure is likely to be even higher for people on cycling holidays.
The network, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, was also found to directly support 15,262 full time equivalent jobs across the services industry, particularly in the food and drink sector where it supports over 10,000 jobs.
Success stories include the Diglis Hotel in Worcester which benefited as a result of the National Cycle Network after Sustrans worked with Worcester City and Worcestershire County Councils to create a riverside loop, with a new bridge as the centrepiece.
General Manager Steve Pirone said: “The riverside is a very important part of the tourism industry in Worcester but until the bridge was built there was no way of getting from one side to the other. As a result of the bridge being built and the route being part of the National Cycle Network we have experienced at least a 20 percent increase in our bar and restaurant sales.”
Jason Torrance, Policy and Partnerships Director at Sustrans, said: “Since the National Cycle Network was first developed, usage has increased year-on-year, with people using it for all kinds of reasons, from using it to get to work and school as well as going on day trips and holidays.
“The economic benefits of quality walking and cycling routes are significant, both from tourism but also day to day, by reducing congestion, pollution and by enabling people to improve their health.
“The National Cycle Network has identified the potential for changing people’s everyday travel. If as a society we really want more people to get fitter and healthier by walking and cycling then we need to make it more appealing and a big part of that is by making roads safer. To enable this to happen, the government must provide consistent long-term funding for cycling and walking to be at least 5 percent of transport spending, and a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy that contains a long-term vision and targets, in the same way that already exists for our roads and railways.”