January 18, 2007
Sea to Sky Mountain Biking Trails Generate $10.3 Million
VANCOUVER - Mountain bike trails in the Sea to Sky region generated $10.3 million in visitor spending this summer and there is room for further development, according to a study conducted by the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association (MBTA) in partnership with the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA). That figure jumps to $38 million when the Whistler Bike Park and Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival are included in the analysis.
"The study at last provides us with some credible data on the economic benefits of mountain biking," said Jimmy Young, MBTA Director. The MBTA, in cooperation with community partners and the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts undertook a pilot study to measure the economic impact of mountain biking along the Sea to Sky Corridor - which includes Whistler, Squamish and the North Shore - between June 3 and September 17, 2006.
The study found that mountain biking draws visitors to Sea to Sky communities and generates significant overnight stays. Overall, 20% of non-resident riders stayed overnight in Sea to Sky communities, staying an average of 4.8 nights and having an average party size of 2.8 people.
"The data supports the premise that if you build innovative trails combined with scenery and services the world will beat a path to your door," said Rob McSkimming, VP Product Development Whistler Blackcomb.
Not surprisingly, Whistler receives the greatest benefit from mountain bike trails in the region as the Resort Municipality of Whistler funds and maintains a sanctioned trail system and is able to feature mountain biking in its tourism marketing activities. A recent draft provincial policy on mountain bike trail use on Crown land could open up further opportunities for authorized trails and the development of mountain biking tourism products in the region and other parts of the province.
"It's great to see the Sea to Sky region experiencing such success with mountain biking," said Tourism, Sport and the Arts Minister Stan Hagen. "I hope this study will help other interested B.C. communities strengthen their own tourism development around this activity."
The MBTA is a grass roots stakeholder based association dedicated to growing mountain bike tourism in B.C. Stakeholders include commercial operators and resorts offering lift-accessed mountain biking as well as community-based trail groups and mountain bike clubs and local government. The MBTA would like to thank the stakeholders for their support and input as well as the more than 1,200 mountain bikers that participated in the survey.