The Tasmanian Visitor Survey data for the period July 2014 to June 2015 has been released and in headline news the number of visitors that undertook some form of mountain biking in Tasmania leapt 39.2%, compared to the same period last year, to just over 11,000.
This is well ahead of the 8.4% increase in total visitors (14+ years) in the same period.
Unfortunately, when you dig in behind those statistics a bit more it gets a little bit more depressing. Those that undertook some form of mountain biking still remained very close to the bottom of the activities table at around 1% of total visitors. This puts mountain biking in third last place just ahead of scuba diving and flying in a light aircraft/helicopter (scenic flight). It is still behind quad biking (1.2%), fishing for trout (1.7%) and playing golf (2.3%) and I'm looking forward to the day that I can report that has changed. Cycling will be the new golf.
It's also slightly concerning for those of us that want to see a bicycle led recovery in Tasmania to see that the numbers of those who have undertaken cycling in general has been on a slight downward trend over the same period. I'm hoping this trend will change with the many great events coming up over the next twelve months.
Also, although the increase in those visitors undertaking mountain biking has by all measures been a huge jump, it is not alone in this impressive feat with saling on a yacht increasing by 55% for the period (can anyone think why?). More impressive though is it up there with attending the theater/performing arts (41% - I'm thinking Mona events), and visiting a distillery (36% - knowing mountain bikers there could be some correlation there). Being comparabile to growth in these sectors seems a good thing to me, and just reinforces that mountain biking is one of the growth industries in Tasmania. We just have to keep the momentum going.
For those interested in bicycle tourism, if you don't know about it already, check out Bicycle Network's Cycle Tourism - jobs, business, strong communities conference to be held in Launceston on 11- 13 November. [link deactivated]
Statistics sourced from: http://www.tourismtasmania.com.au/research/tvs, any mistake in interpretation is probably mine and I apologise for them in advance.