Building Demand for Duluth Cycling Tours

By Dave Grandmaison

What an experience! I’ve been in The Netherlands for about a week now – my first trip to Europe and our first direct connection with the European cycling tourism market.

Fiets en Wandelbeurs

Our primary purpose for sending me to The Netherlands was so I could attend the Fiets en Wandelbeurs (translated as Cycling and Walking Fairs) in Amsterdam. Our attendance was part of a concerted plan by Visit Duluth and The Duluth Experience to plant the seed and nurture the idea that Duluth is a great option for Dutch and Belgian tourists looking for new cycling and trekking adventures.
Learning about Cycling in Amsterdam

Related: Promoting Duluth Bicycle Tours in Europe

We strongly believe that there is a great opportunity here – though it will take some time and additional effort to realize the full potential of this new market for Duluth. The Visit Duluth display and my attendance at the Amsterdam fair (there is another in Belgium at the end of February) are the first substantial steps. But like a trek on the Superior Hiking Trail… there are many miles to walk and lots of mosquitos to swat along the way!

Last weekend’s Fiets en Wandelbeurs was an amazing opportunity to connect with the Dutch cycling community – people looking for information on all kinds of cycling adventures around the world – as well as the other businesses out there that are doing amazing things in the world of adventure travel. We learned a lot about how to communicate with this new market and the things we must do to put Duluth on the map for our European friends.
Dutch Cyclists

Related: Video Update from Fiets en Wandelbeurs

Building a Demand for Duluth Cycling Tours

The key to creating a world-class cycling destination relies on having amazing infrastructure (e.g., trails, bike paths, public transportation, parks, accommodations, etc) and communicating Duluth’s unique selling points to tourists who have seemingly unlimited options in front of them. If they can cycling anywhere in the world… why Duluth?

Well, this is the challenge – but it can be done. As Duluthians, we know that Duluth speaks for itself. Duluth is an amazing town with amazing people and great local businesses. We have the world’s largest freshwater lake and the wilderness of the north woods right outside our doors! We have a local economy of cooperation and innovation founded in localism – from our restaurants to our breweries to our manufacturing – the story of Duluth is quite compelling.

The role of The Duluth Experience is to effectively translate that story and provide the kinds of experiences that will entice cycling tourists to visit our part of the world.

Related: Check out our Instagram feed for more images from Dave’s trip to Amsterdam and Brussels
This is really exciting you guys! As I process more of this trip and the contacts I’ve made and make sense of the information I’ve gathered, I hope to share more. I travel to Brussels on Friday to attend a second fair and learn even more… and yes I plan to drink a few Belgian beers! Proost!

Related: Hicle Bikezine (in Dutch) with a story on the Duluth Traverse

Photos courtesy of Erik van den Boom

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