Promoting Duluth Bicycle Tours to Europeans
By Dave Grandmaison
There’s no doubt that something special is happening here in Duluth and people from across the country are starting to take notice. There is a powerful sense of pride reverberating throughout the community and this pride is driving the momentum for healthy, active lifestyles that combine the unique flavor of Northwoods ruggedness with a progressive urban vibe to create an atmosphere of possibility and adventure.
This deep sense of pride for Duluth has empowered volunteers to build and maintain parks and trails and encouraged elected officials to create a political atmosphere to support them. It’s the same sense of pride that has helped Duluth rise to the top of the United States’ outdoor recreation towns (no small feat!) and inspired local businesses and young entrepreneurs to invest in creating a new economy whose story is authentic, compelling, and founded in localism.
There is so much buzz about Duluth. And now that buzz is being exported to Europe!
Last year, The Duluth Experience made a modest effort to promote Duluth’s amazing bicycle tour opportunities at bicycle tourism fairs abroad. Along with our forward thinking friends at Visit Duluth, we contributed to a pamphlet that was distributed to thousands of prospective bicycle tourists in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium). The information was well-received.
Based on a spike in web traffic from to the Visit Duluth website originating in Europe immediately after the fair, there was real interest in Duluth from the European market. The discussion then turned to increasing the outreach and improving the message.
This year Visit Duluth has decided to invest additional resources towards promoting Duluth tourism at Fiets en Wandelbeurzen – Cycling & Walking Fairs. It’s a concerted effort to educate and inform the European market that Duluth is the perfect destination for their next adventure abroad. It’s an effort that will help set the stage for increased tourism from abroad.
The role of The Duluth Experience is to market and promote specific opportunities for cycling and hiking expeditions that combine the variety of other great activities available – a visit to a local art gallery or theater performance combined with an elegant meal, or a rock-climbing adventure along the North Shore, or a guided white-water kayak expedition on a local river – there is so much to offer our guests… and that list is growing.
So this year I have the great honor of going to the one of Europe’s largest bicycle and trekking fairs to establish a personal connection with the European adventure tourism market and promote Duluth as an important destination for adventure cycling and world-class hiking. This effort helps to promote The Duluth Experience bicycle tours as well as our Adventure Affiliates and other partners in the hospitality industry. We believe that our efforts to promote bicycle and hiking tours, local partnerships, and quality experiences to the European audience will ultimately result in a new market for Duluth businesses. We are very excited. I’ll be there to promote the kind of collaborations that make Duluth’s business scene so darned fun to work in. But I digress…
The Fiets en Wandelbeurzen will draw in an estimated 35,000 enthusiastic cyclists and walkers seeking information about opportunities for holiday adventures abroad. There will be lectures and workshops and vendors from around the globe. This year Duluth will have a native voice to sing its praises and describe its potential. I am both honored to represent Duluth and excited to communicate our story to such a focused crowd.
I leave for Amsterdam on January 28th as an ambassador for Duluth’s bicycle tourism scene. With so many great people, organizations and businesses involved, there is little doubt that Duluth will continue to rise as a regional adventure destination. As such, my goal in attending the Amsterdam fair on January 31st and February 1st is to highlight the amazing opportunities that already exist in Duluth – the local music and arts scene, the amazing system of parks and trails that wind through the city, the wild rivers and mighty Lake Superior – and to raise awareness that we have amazing cycling adventures to be had right here in the Northwoods.
Duluth’s story is compelling and exciting and we’re ready to share that story with the rest of the world. I hope that you will help spread the word about this exciting trip by sharing this initial blog post with your friends and other folks that share our pride and excitement for what Duluth has accomplished and where Duluth is headed in the future.
Thanks Duluth – you make it easy to be so proud.