Cycle tourism a budding opportunity in MODL with Active Transportation Plan

(Illustration: Jessie McLaughlin)

The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) is gearing up for a major transformation in its transportation landscape with the launch of an updated Active Transportation Plan (ATP).

The plan, announced recently, aims to bolster active transportation options, expand the current network, and enhance connectivity throughout the municipality.

The updated ATP will go beyond infrastructure upgrades; it will identify fresh priorities, policies, programs, and recommendations for improved access to active transportation choices for residents of all ages and abilities.

This initiative underscores the municipality’s commitment to fostering healthier, more vibrant communities and reducing its environmental footprint.

Despite the health and environmental factors being at the forefront of this initiative, MODL is also presented with a compelling opportunity to enhance its tourism industry and stimulate economic growth through a strategic investment in active transportation infrastructure.

Benefits to cycling infrastructure

As demonstrated by research and success stories from various regions, the economic benefits of such an investment are substantial.

A 2014 study conducted in Quebec revealed that cycle tourists spend an average of $214 per day, outpacing spending by other types of tourists (ie: motorists).

Moreover, two-thirds of those surveyed expressed a desire to return for another cycling trip. This indicates a sustainable tourism model that can benefit Lunenburg’s economy over the long term.

MODL has the opportunity to leverage its scenic coastal areas, and charming communities to attract a growing and lucrative market of cycle tourists.

By making thoughtful investments in active transportation infrastructure, Lunenburg can create a network of safe and scenic routes that beckon cyclists, boost the local economy, and enhance the overall quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

MODL is calling upon its community members to actively participate in the development of this transformative plan.

The first phase of community engagement kicks off early September with an online survey and mapping activity. Residents are encouraged to share their current active transportation habits, challenges they face, and suggestions for improvement.

Pedestrians and cyclists spend more per month

Pedestrians and cyclists spend more per month, especially at food service businesses, than drivers do. In fact, cyclists have been found to spend more per trip and to make shopping and dining trips more often than drivers.

In the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the US, a coastal area known for its beaches, a onetime investment of $6.7 million into cycling infrastructure generates roughly $60 million in economic activity each year through cycle tourism.

Cycle tourism has similarly become popular in Europe: The cycle tourism sector is worth €44 billion per year, which is 16% more than the European cruise sector.

A 2014 study by UQAM’s Transat Chair in Tourism in Quebec Province shows cycle tourists spend an average $214 per day, 6% more than other types of tourists while cycling the La Route Verte network. Two-thirds of those surveyed plan to return for another trip.

A study conducted in Victoria, Australia, showed that the passing distance between vehicles and cyclists was closer (and therefore cyclists were at higher risk) on streets with unprotected cycle lanes than on streets with no cycle infrastructure at all.


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