Cycle tourism brings £650 million to the UK economy each year, according to research from sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
According to the charity people cycling on the National Cycle Network (NCN) spent, on average, £7 per day, while it estimates the network itself directly supports the equivalent of 15,262 full-time jobs, largely in the food and drink sector.
The figures have been released to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the NCN, which now extends 14,000 miles across the UK.
Among those who benefit from the network are the Diglis Hotel in Worcester which, Sustrans says, benefits from a new riverside loop developed with Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council.
Steve Pirone the General Manager of the Diglis House Hotel in Worcester, said: “The riverside is a very important part of the tourism industry in Worcester but until the bridge was built there was no way of getting from one side to the other.
"As a result of the bridge being built and the route being part of the National Cycle Network we have experienced a real benefit and I’m sure other businesses near the route have seen an increase in business too. There’s been at least a 20% increase in our bar and restaurant sales and we also think the new route will increase our hotel figures in the future, as it brings more walkers and cyclists to the area.”
Jason Torrance, Policy and Partnerships Director at Sustrans, said: “Since the National Cycle Network was first developed, usage has increased year-on-year, with people using it for all kinds of reasons, from using it to get to work and school as well as going on day trips and holidays.
“The economic benefits of quality walking and cycling routes are significant, both from tourism but also day to day, by reducing congestion, pollution and by enabling people to improve their health.
“The National Cycle Network has identified the potential for changing people’s everyday travel. If as a society we really want more people to get fitter and healthier by walking and cycling then we need to make it more appealing and a big part of that is by making roads safer.
"To enable this to happen, the government must provide consistent long-term funding for cycling and walking to be at least 5% of transport spending, and a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy that contains a long-term vision and targets, in the same way that already exists for our roads and railways.”