New resources help wheels keep turning in tourism sector

Kate Forbes MSP was joined at the launch on Monday by various interested parties including, Frazer Coupland, CEO Lochaber Chamber of Commerce (2nd from right), Graeme McLean, Head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (3rd from right), local mountainbiker Ferg Lamb (on bike) and Highland Development Coordinator Ruairi Watt (fifth from left). Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image.

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Mountain bikers and cyclists visiting Lochaber can expect a world-class welcome thanks to a new suite of resources aimed at the Scottish tourism industry.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch and cabinet secretary for finance and the economy launched the innovative project at the Highland Soap Company Visitor Centre in Fort William on Monday.

With investment into mountain bike trails and facilities across Scotland and as the nation prepares to host the inaugural 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in August next year, all involved believe that the products could not come at a better time.

The new resources and tools will help businesses across key destinations be ready for the increased number of visiting mountain bikers and cyclists.

The resources put together by Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), include an online business self-assessment tool, videos showcasing each key destination’s strengths and areas of improvement, strong calls to action to improve bike storage and other essential/desirable services, downloadable images and videos, and information for businesses to improve their understanding of the market.

The online resources will also be supplemented with a printed guide which will be sent
to businesses across the Highlands of Scotland.

Ms Forbes said: ‘I am pleased to support the launch of these important resources and it’s exciting to see the momentum building in the tourism sector in advance of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

‘The impact of the championships, with an expected one million spectators to Scotland over the course of the event and one billion eyes globally watching around the world, is hugely significant not just for the period of this event, but for many years to come as visitors and spectators appreciate just what we have to offer as a destination.’

Graeme McLean, head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland said: ‘With increased investment in our trail network, strategic projects and programmes across the country happening, this is the prime opportunity to upskill our tourism industry to better cater for this growing market.

‘Ensuring a world class welcome for the visitors expected over the event, capitalising on the economic benefits and showcasing Scotland around the globe to future potential visitors.’

The project, led by DMBinS, part of Scottish Cycling – the governing body for cycling in Scotland, has been funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise through the Northern Innovation Hub, part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal.

Audrey McLennan, senior development manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: ‘Mountain biking is a hugely popular family activity in the Highlands with an excellent network of paths and trails, which offer a mix of healthy, fun outdoor activities for families to enjoy.

‘With the number of mountain biking and cycling visitors to Scotland on the rise and the World Championships fast approaching, we are delighted to support the development of this important resource that will help businesses and communities get ready for the increased number in tourism.’

Trudy Lindblade, CEO of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, said: As well as showcasing some spectacular world-class cycling we are going to give visiting athletes, teams and fans the very best Scottish welcome.

‘These new resources from DMBinS will play an important part in helping the tourism sector welcome cyclists before, during and long after the championships.’

Photograph: Kate Forbes MSP was joined at the launch on Monday by various interested parties including, Frazer Coupland, CEO Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, second from the right; Graeme McLean, head of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, third right; local mountain biker Ferg Lamb, on his bike and Highland Development Coordinator Ruairi Watt, fifth left. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image.

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