Date: 
Monday, September 23, 2013 - 09:00

Media opportunities: interview and photo opportunities will be available shortly before the start of the Tracks and Trails expo on Monday, September 30, 2013, between 9.30 and 10am, at the Eden Project, Bodelva, St Austell, PL24 2SG.  Call Kate Gason on 07973 813668 to confirm attendance.

Cornish businesses looking for ways to attract tourists all year round are being encouraged to attend a free event at Eden at the end of this month.

The Cornwall Tracks and Trails business expo will feature a range of organisations and projects involved in cycling, walking and riding to show how the county’s tourism businesses can attract and retain visitors – whatever the season.

The event, supported by the CYCLE WEST project and Cornwall Council, will take place in the Gallery Room at the Eden Project on Monday 30 September from 10am to 4pm. 

A group of cyclists will be gathering at the event to launch the new network of signed routes through Cornwall, which has been developed by CYCLE WEST, Cornwall Council and Sustrans.  Vélowest is a way-marked cycle tour of Cornwall spurring off the existing Tour de Manche and Vélodyssée routes, following part of the National Cycle Network.  The route takes in Bude, the spectacular unspoilt north Cornwall coast and the wild, rugged northern edge of Bodmin Moor. It then joins the popular Camel Trail and returns via the Eden Project and the ancient market towns of Bodmin, Launceston and Tavistock. The full route is 250km and is on a combination of quiet roads and traffic-free routes.

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Environment, Heritage and Planning, said: “Cornwall offers world-class cycling, riding and walking that can be attractive even in poor weather and throughout the year.  And yet it can still be a challenge for tourism businesses to spread the word that Cornwall is open for business 365 days a year.  Cornwall is well known for coastal activities such as surfing and beach sports, but less so for its inland activities.  Most people know of the Camel Trail, but so much more exists, and we would encourage businesses to find out at the expo what Cornwall has to offer that appeals both in and outside the summer months.”

Simon Murray, Sustrans Area Manager for Cornwall, said: “This new network of signed routes through Cornwall extends the county’s appeal to cyclists to be able to explore even further. The project has made it possible for new areas of the county to benefit from being on the National Cycle Network, for example Launceston on NCN 327 and Indian Queens, NCN 305.   The launch of two new cross-Channel cycle routes linking the South West with Normandy and Brittany has begun to draw even more cyclists from abroad, and of course we hope that they also will want to explore this new circuit in Cornwall.” 

Speakers at the expo include Malcolm Bell from Visit Cornwall, Annette Cole from Country Sports South West and Isabelle Parfitt from the European-funded Cycle West project, covering subjects such as access, marketing and research.  These will be repeated morning and afternoon to give a programme that should have something of interest for everyone.  There will also be displays from 25 organisations such as the National Trust, Cornwall AONB, the Ramblers Association and Sustrans aimed at helping businesses make the most of Cornwall as an active destination all year round, with staff on hand to talk through businesses’ individual needs. 

Isabelle Parfitt, CYCLE WEST project manager, said: “The launch of Vélowest is a crowning achievement for the CYCLE WEST project, which over the past three years has seen the launch of three new cross-Channel cycle routes linking Cornwall, Devon and Dorset with France.  We’ve already seen how cyclists are starting to adopt these routes and share them, so there is a real opportunity here for businesses to take advantage of this new wave of cycling.  The expo is therefore an ideal way for tourism businesses in Cornwall and further afield to benefit from the expertise of organisations focused on outdoor activities.” 

Heidi Morgan, Eden's Clay Trails Development officer, said: “We are proud to be part of this exciting cross-channel cycle route which encourages people to travel through Cornwall and France in a sustainable way. We welcome cyclists to Eden with a special green discount and the Clay Trails surrounding the project are a great way to see this picturesque part of Cornwall.”

All businesses attending have free entry to Eden on the day and there is no charge for entry.  For more details visit http://cornwalltracktrailexpo.weebly.com/ email paul@vmcg.co.uk or call 07551 721326.