We’re not pedalling a myth – mountain biking merits support

Fiona Hyslop with (left) Lee Cousins, of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, and (right) mountain bike ranger Mark Goodall.
Fiona Hyslop with (left) Lee Cousins, of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, and (right) mountain bike ranger Mark Goodall.

The partnership organisation to support companies operating in the mountain biking sector has received new backing from the Scottish Government.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop was in the Borders earlier this week to announce £50,000 for the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland project for the coming year, to help it deliver on a national strategic framework for mountain biking.

The sector is predominately made up of small, private businesses and the new funding will ensure they have leadership at a national level to help them thrive.

A relatively new sector, mountain bike tourism has seen rapid growth and now generates more than £100 million annually for the Scottish economy.

As set out in the Programme for Government, forest tourism has been identified as a driver for economic growth in south Scotland.

Ms Hyslop, visiting the Forest Tourism Summit, at Glentress Forest, near Peebles, said: “Mountain biking is an excellent example of a rapidly growing sector that presents real opportunities for Scotland.

“Our well managed great outdoors – and our forest trails in particular – mean we are well positioned as a premier mountain biking destination, for locals and visitors alike.

“Our first-class facilities, like those available at Glentress Forest, are an important tourism draw. Therefore I am pleased we are able to support Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland in its work to sustainably grow the sector.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, who also participated in the Forest Tourism Summit, said: “Forest Enterprise Scotland has led the way in promoting forest tourism in recent years. However, if we really want to achieve greater growth, we need a ‘Team Scotland’ approach.

“The tourism summit is an important catalyst as we seek a step change in forest tourism. With public and private sectors working together in partnership, as we are starting to see for mountain biking, we can further grow this crucial part of our rural economy.”

Lee Cousins, independent chairman of Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), added: “Mountain biking is growing at a fantastic rate and now contributes £257m of sales into the Scottish economy annually.

“DMBinS has played an important role in supporting this growth, including improving the standards of Scottish mountain biking tourism and growing the number of participants who are involved in the sport, which is resulting in more domestic tourists.

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government is supporting us to continue to deliver the strategy with our partners across the country.”