The #RestartCycleTourism hashtag is not alone – it plays off the UNWTO #RestartTourism campaign, which represents the tourism sector generally coming together to formulate a sector-wide response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other campaigns have sprung up in recent weeks responding to the current situation too, such as the #visiteurope campaign of the European Travel Commission and EURONEWS. This campaign, called ‘We Are Europe’, highlights the unity of the European continent, inspiring connections and memories that stretch beyond borders through shared history, culture and nature.
In relation to this campaign, the European Commission has developed an interactive tool that provides the latest information needed by country to confidently plan travels in Europe: reopen.europa.eu. The information is frequently updated, available in 24 languages and based on the most recent available data provided by EU Member States and collected from other publicly available and authoritative national sources. Use this tool to make sure the country you plan to travel to is welcoming visitors from your country without a mandatory quarantine, if you can move freely within the country and more useful information.
In Belgium, bicycles can be carried for free in the trains from July 1st to 31 December. If you are a Belgian resident, you can also apply for 12 free rail tickets valid for 6 months starting from 17th August. And when cycling across Belgium this summer, opt for adventure with the Welcome to my Garden citizens' initiative: A not-for-profit network of citizens offering free camping spots in their gardens to slow travellers! Bivouacking is also authorised in Belgium – you can check this website to find free bivouac areas.
In Denmark, the Summer Package ensures free ferry travel on all domestic ferries for cyclists and pedestrians during July, cheaper tickets for public transport and some other measures. Not a new initiative, but when travelling by bike in Denmark the Shelter App is very useful: it references camping spots either in the middle of the nature, in people’s gardens or in other locations.
In France, theFrance Vélo Tourisme website is being updated and promoted through the #JeVoyageAVelo campaign. It features an interactive map of the itineraries crisscrossing the country, addresses of cyclists-friendly accommodation, lots of advices and even a bike calculator to find the best cycling route! For more tips on how to plan your cycling holiday in France, join the Facebook group where more than 25,000 cyclists are already helping each other.
In Germany, the #Abseitsradeln campaign page gathers useful links for cycle tourists: the Bett+Bike website and their advices in times of corona, an overview of the available ADFC cycling maps, the ADFC route-finder with an interactive map and the German cycle route planner. The ADFC also lists a few recommendations on how to be safe, avoid busy stretches and make sure you find somewhere to sleep since accommodations have restrictions at the moment.
In Luxembourg, the Vëlosummer 2020 initiative has a lot of good surprises for cyclists. 16 sections of state roads will be reserved for cyclists, local residents and buses in August 2020. They will complete and connect the 1,000 km of existing national and regional cycle routes in the country! A free luggage transport service is also available in Luxembourg until the end of the summer: the Move, We Carry initiative offers to transfer your luggage from and to any paid accommodation (hotel, campsite, holiday rental or youth hostel) for free, up to 6 consecutive stages.
We also want to highlight that, as part of the #RestartCycleTourism campaign, we want cyclists to explore their local surroundings and share the best picture of their cycle holidays along EuroVelo 15 - Rhine Cycle Route or EuroVelo 19 - Meuse Cycle Route with the EuroVelo Summer Photo Contest! Check the contest’s rules and enter between 6th July and 28th August for a chance to win a week-long cycle holiday along a section of these routes.
Finally, if you have any doubts or questions on the planning of your cycling trip this summer, you are invited to join the EuroVelo Discussion Group on Facebook. To date, over 33,000 travellers are waiting to welcome you to the EuroVelo community!
Curious about cycling measures taken by local or national authorities for the recovery after COVID-19 quarantine, besides cycling tourism related measures? Then explore the interactive dashboard developed by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), in collaboration with its member organisations from all over Europe: ecf.com/dashboard.
A few numbers in-depth:
- Over 1,800 km of new cycling and walking infrastructure have been announced;
- More than 700 km are already rideable;
- In excess of 900,000,000 € have been allocated for cycling promotion.
The situation is currently looking good throughout Europe for cycling and cycle tourism. But it is more crucial than ever to act now and change mindsets and behaviours around us as well as in ourselves. Because the really important thing is to ensure that temporary measures being introduced around Europe become permanent, and don’t remain a post-pandemic one-off trend in favour of cycling! If you agree, join the #RestartCycleTourism campaign this summer and share your cycling stories and photos using this hashtag.
Are you aware of more initiatives to revive cycle tourism in Europe? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help spread the news!
Author(s): Florence Grégoire