Allegra tourismus



Posted by Claude Balsiger on April 26, 2015
Claude Balsiger
Find me on:

2015’s IMBA Europe summit brought people involved in MTB advocacy and tourism from almost 20 countries together at the French mediterrannean sea. Besides catching up on the latest development in different countries and meeting new people, presentations about different topics were held. Two of them stuck out.



In Winter 2014/15 a few French MTB Guides stepped into a new chapter of MTB tourism: They had more business in winter, than they do have in summer! What might sound unbelievable is based on a trend most people despise: FATBIKES. We at Allegra tourism don’t count ourselves to the fatbike preachers and we look at the topic with an healthy amount of skepticism. But we think every one involved in MTB tourism industry should learn the lesson the French have to teach us. MCF is the french MTB guide association most likely the largest guiding organization in the world. They have been living of MTB guiding and instructing for years now, but they reached point where they say that E-Fatbikes will substantially improve their business and extend their season. Their guides in mountain regions for the first time worked all year round, and few of them even made more business in winter then in summer. Julien Rebuffed, head of MCF, said in his speech at the IMBA Europe summit, that E-Fatbikes hit the core of the business potential, as they make the experience of cycling through winter landscapes accessible to everyone. Fatbikes are an attraction because they are something new. They seem to be the perfect tool for incentives, company events or group activities. But who ever thinks that Fatbikes will be an easy market for his region should know that the French and their guiding market are lightyears ahead of every other country in the world. The system of MCF bike schools all over France is even more advanced than the system of ski and snowboard schools in Switzerland. Not only teach the French instructors everyone in alpine resorts, they also forward their clients to the local MCF bike school in their hometown and vice versa. So clients of all age groups and skills levels can continue the lessons and status they reached in the partner school on holidays at their hometown. This is probably the most advanced tool to enlarge the MTB market, get more people to ride bikes and strengthen the tourism market in summer as well as in winter. Ski Schools and Destinations really should dig into that idea, because it is the best all round approach to MTB tourism I so far have seen. The fatbike hype and it’s potential for winter tourism cause a lot of confusion. For that reason Allegra published a report on fatbike tourism you can download here.



Annie Söderberg started out as a mountain bikers girlfriend. Now she is an MTB superstar. A superstars to over 1000 women in Sweden, that found their way to mountain biking through her and her partner Jessica Clarén. A little over a year ago Annie and Jessica decided to start running tours and skills training for women. They were overrun by their own success and now work eight different locations all over Sweden. They are even thinking of expanding their business to other countries. The percentage of female riders in Sweden is at 8 percent, even lower than it is Switzerland. That might be because the Swedish MTB scene is very race focused, and not many women feel competitive. So the idea to have a sub scene that does not have a competitive edge, rather a more fun based approach suits specially female riders. Although Annie made clear in her presentation, that is not a female only organization and men are always welcome to join the rides, popularity amongst women keeps rising.

Annies project reminded me a lot of the Dave O’Riordans speech at the 2014 Ride Kongress in Chur. Dave’s Swiss Alpine Adventure is the same kind of social grassroots project with the same amount of success. Dave offers tours and camps in the mountains for english speaking expats living in Switzerland. While Annie and Jessica take Girls out on rides and teach them to feel safe and have fun on the MTB, Dave does everything from skitouring to MTB Camps . They both started out with their own people, filling a need in the community and wishing to connect with others. Their success is overwhelming, building communities of over 1000 people within only a few years. Now they are far more successful than most tour operators ever will be. All it seems to take a specific niche, a mixture of free and charged offers and a lot of passion.

Topics: services, identity, know-how-transfer