Conflicts arising from mountain bikers, no matter whether they’re with hikers, other guests or property owners, are an all-too-oft shared news story. In tourism destinations, this leads to discussions on whether regions should openly consider themselves mountain bike destinations at all, if they should advertise as such to mountain bikers, and whether hikers are better off leaving it alone.
Many studies show, however, that these conflicts are merely news stories and shouldn’t be taken all that seriously (for example, this report in German from Ride Magazine). In fact, there is little data or evidence proving which activities guests participate in in any given region, with surveys (especially those that span several destinations) known to be very costly.
Komoot is the platform with the largest reach among people taking part in outdoor activities, and data-driven decision is as the core of what we do. With that, we are uniquely qualified to add some facts and data to the ongoing discussion about mountain bikers as guests in tourism destinations.
For the purpose of this discussion, we picked five tourism destinations across Germany, Austria and Switzerland (Graubünden, Saxon Switzerland, Lake Constance, Salzburg, Tirol). Within these destinations, we analyzed which outdoor activities (hiking, cycling, mountain biking and road biking) guests actually took part in. To guarantee the relevance of the data for tourism purposes, we excluded users that only do activities within the specific tourism destination. In total, we analyzed 83,732 guests that completed 331,327 activities across our five destinations, a dataset which we believe is the largest ever analyzed. And although the data has not been normalized to the general public, the dataset is big enough to be “close to truth”, especially as we know that komoot’s demographic represents the general population very well.
Guests are hikers, mountain bikers, cyclists and road bikers
The following graph shows the results for Graubünden and Saxon Switzerland.
The analyses shows two results:
- Different activities are done by guests within one single destination
- A single guest does several activities within the tourism destination
Different activities are done by guests within one single destination
Saxon Switzerland and Graubünden had results that differed the most from our pool of five regions analyzed. Even in this case, however, 20% of visitors to Saxon Switzerland go cycling and 6.7% go mountain biking. This 20% alone is a relevant-enough percentage of total visitors to make them a noticeable demographic. The highest fraction of mountain bikers as guests is found in Graubünden, where more than 40% of guests go mountain biking. The Lake Constance region is also highly popular among cyclists with more than 60% of guests going cycling during their visit. Here you can access the interactive graphs.
A single guest does several activities within the destination
The analyzed data unveils another really interesting fact. Guest complete several different activities within a single destination! General market analyses show that active people do several sports: Most people would agree that a mountain biker might also hike or run from time to time, and that a road biker might be caught a couple of times a year on a singletrail. This data takes this idea one step further, however, and shows that guests even do several activities within a single tourism destination. If you sum up the total number of users completing each activity in Saxon Switzerland and Graubünden, for example, you arrive at 116% and 123% respectively. This proves that a large fraction of guests don’t just do several activities at home, but within a single tourism destination.
It’s most probably a mountain bike destination already
The following graphs show the share of activities done by guests within a destination (Interactive diagrams).
In all destinations, cycling has a minimum share of 15% of all activities completed by guests, rising to 50% in some.
Therefore, understanding that tourism destinations are probably mountain bike destinations already, as well as the observation that guest do several activities within their destination, has strong implications on the discussion and product development of tourism destinations and how & where they invest their marketing budgets.