Economic Benefits of Mountain Bike Tourism

Case studies reveal how mountain bike tourism has enhanced local economies, including an innovative effort from Haiti.

Moderated by David Weinstein, Outreach and Advocacy Manager, Outdoor Industry Association (Colorado, USA). Additional presenters include:

  • Megan Blackwelder, State Park Manager, Dead Horse Point (Utah, USA)
  • Scott Reid, Open Space and Trails Planner (Colorado, USA)
  • Harry Dalgaard, Travel Oregon/Oregon Tourism Commission (Oregon, USA)
  • Philip Kiracofe of MTB Ayiti presents a model from Haiti for bicycle-based adventure tourism. (New York, USA/Haiti)

Each speaker portrayed how mountain biking and trail development has had an economic impact via tourism in their unique region.

David Weinstein shared insights from the recent Outdoor Industry Association report (see PDF download below) on the Recreation Economy, which has direct economic benefits. Mountain biking is a strong component in the recreation economy, providing:

  • 6.1 million American jobs
  • $646 billion in outdoor recreation spending each year
  • $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue
  • $39.7 billion in state/local tax revenue

Scott Reid reported on the Town of Breckenridge, CO. His anecdotal approach to measuring the impact of MTB tourism in this mountain resort town.

  • Partnerships with Summit County, U.S. Forest Service, Town depts.
  • 4,000 acres of open space protected to date
  • 22+ miles of singletrack within town
  • Trail Plan Goal:  to connect downtown with backcountry trails
  • $736,253 race event related revenue
  • $2.3M bike related retail sales
  • Visitor and lodging statistics still under study

Megan Blackwelder discussed the impacts of a new 9-mile trail system developed at Dead Horse Point State Park, near Moab, UT.  A recent study, The Economic Value of Public Lands in Grand Country, highlighted increased visitation to the park and related revenues.

Harry Hdalgaard shared statistics and stories from the perspective of Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism authority and home to Bronze Level Ride Center, Oakridge.

  • 17.4 M people visited Oregon
  • 4.5 M visitors rode a bike while visiting
  • 1.5 M planned on riding before they came
  • Overnight cycling visitors spend 8X more than day travelers

Philip Kiracofe discussed the efforts of Travelcology globally to enhance economic development in poor communities via eco-tourism.  He highlighted a project, MTB Haiti, which empowers a local community to develop cycling resources and promote their recreation and cultural assets. An innovative public relations strategy includes a coast to coast stage race in Haiti, designed to attract mountain bikers with a sense of adventure to the region.

Resource from the IMBA 2012 World Summit