The opening of the new 'Mournes Mountain Bike Trails' at Rostrevor and Castlewellan in Spring 2013 is already a much talked about topic. With hundreds of riders already chomping at the bit to get out there (and thanks to all the guys and girls who are being respectful and keeping off the trails whilst under construction) the opening will bring a whole new market to the area which will need to be catered for if the local economy is to benefit to its maximum potential – and the impact could be potentially huge.
A quiet day at Coed y Brenin
Take for example the original trail centre – Coed y Brenin in North Wales. Once the centre opened, so did the floodgates. The visitor numbers to Coed y Brenin increased from around 14,000 a year to in excess of 150,000 a year in 4 years with at least 90% of new visitors being mountain bikers, and 80% of mountain bikers were weekend visitors, resulting in a £5 million a year cash injection into the local economy.
Local businesses adapted to provide for this new market, including accommodation such as B&B’s and hotels providing secure storage for bikes and kit washing and drying services, the provision of bike hire and repair services, mountain bike shops, trail guide services and much more.
Rostrevor and Castlewellan together will make for a great weekend’s riding in beautiful scenery and all those mountain bikers will want good grub to eat and a few pints of an evening. If the area really wants to benefit from these trails, local businesses need to be prepared to give mountain bikers the services that they need to make the Mournes a great mountain biking destination.