The rise of (MAMILs) middle aged men in Lycra, has raised the question – is cycling a threat to golf tourism?
According to key findings in the World Travel Market Global Trends Report revealed that in America cycling is rivalling golf in the leisure time of middle aged men and is expected to have an impact on the tourism industry. “The number of cycling enthusiasts grew from 3.5 million in 2012 to 3.8 million in 2013, according to Elliot Gluskin of cycling research firm Gluskin Townley Group.”
Cycling is becoming the chosen competitive sport for affluent middle aged men, traditionally the leisure market for golf. The Australian travel industry has taken note of the popularity of cycling tourism that has grown both international and domestic visitors.
Victoria’s Cycling Tourism Action Plan 2011-2015 for instance recognises cycling as “a niche market with considerable potential for growth”.
The plan states that: “The total estimated expenditure for the year ending December 2010 by domestic overnight, daytrip and international overnight visitors that participated in cycling in Victoria is $362 million. The estimated total expenditure of cycle tourists in Australia is approximately $2.4 billion.”
Cycling tourism has become popular at a time when people are looking to improve their health and wellbeing and tourists are becoming more interested in sustainable tourism. It is also recognised as an important opportunity to expand tourism in regional areas.
The Queensland Cycle Strategy 2011-2021 contains the outline of a vision for the future of cycling tourism and “developing a cycling economy” in Queensland. With a commitment to support cycling tourism and a project to develop and deliver recreational trails and pathways in coastal areas and communities.
With travellers craving more authentic experiences and an increase in leisure and competitive cyclists there is a huge opportunity to provide high performance and all-ability bike travel combined with other authentic Australian activities and experiences.
Golf tourism remains popular but the industry needs to cater to the changing needs of generation X and the baby boomers by offering new golf course amenities and styles. It also needs to appeal to younger professionals.
With many business articles claiming cycling is the new golf and that interest in golf is waning– golf tourism better watch out or we will continue to see the rise of MAMILs in tourism.