Arran’s MSP Kenneth Gibson reports on the recent further investment in mountain biking by the Scottish government. He points to how this will help expand the island’s established biking trails, support more adventure tourism, and benefit the local thriving mountain biking community.
Arran is already home to an enviable network of mountain bike trails. These include beginner and family-friendly routes as well as more challenging cross-country and island-traversing courses, many owing much to the efforts of Arran Bike Club members. Investment of £185,000 to support the expansion of mountain biking in Scotland, announced last month by the SNP Government, will aid our reputation for adventure tourism and help this important and vibrant activity on Arran to flourish and develop further.
This latest funding builds on the £1 million already invested by the SNP Government and Forestry and Land Scotland last year, and comes ahead of the publication of the new six year Scottish Mountain Biking Strategy. This was developed on behalf of all those with a stake in Scottish mountain biking, including riders, the tourism industry, product designers and manufacturers.
The funding and new strategy will unlock numerous benefits for Arran, such as getting people more active and increasing the economic contribution of mountain biking to the island’s economy.
This all comes at an exciting time for mountain biking after the announcement in February that Scotland will host the 2023 Union Cycliste Internationale’s World Championships, an inaugural event that will bring together the world championships of 13 cycling disciplines over a fortnight.
The Tourism Scotland 2020 Strategy highlights the growth potential of adventure tourism, and Arran already has much to offer those who want to enjoy physical, exhilarating challenges in a beautiful setting. By using our natural terrain and the expertise of organisations such as the Mountain Bike Consortium, mountain biking opportunities can continue to grow and attract more visitors.
Recent research on Scottish mountain biking confirms that the gross value added impact on our economy was £105 million in 2015, and could grow to £158 million by 2025, a 50% increase.