Cycling tourism or cycling tourism is a form of sustainable tourism that has been developing more and more in recent years in almost all countries. In addition to including day trips that regular tourists or locals take during their holidays or on weekends, it also applies to long-distance cycling on cycling routes.On the topic of cycling tourism as part of the European Mobility Week, which is held in Croatia every year from 16 to 22 September, MEP Davor Škrlec organized two panel discussions in Koprivnica and Zagreb on sustainable urban mobility and cycling tourism, in cooperation with German Member of the European Parliament Michael Cramer (Greens / ESS) and representatives of local authorities and the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia.MP Michael Cramer is the initiator of the cycling tourism projectand EuroVelo13 and the author of the book “European Bike Trail – Iron Curtain” in which it connects sustainable tourism with European history and culture. The trail is more than 10 km long and passes through 400 different countries, of which 20 are EU member states, including Croatia. “Cyclotourism is very developed in some regions of the European Union, while there are also regions in which cycling tourism is not recognized at all and as such does not exist. This wide range shows how important the involvement of local, regional and national authorities is. With its very diverse landscape, cultural and historical sights, Croatia has a huge potential in the development of any form of cycling tourism. From what I heard from my Croatian colleagues in the European Parliament, it is going in the right direction because the Croatian National Tourist Board supports projects such as ‘MedCycleTour’ by developing EuroVelo8 – a Mediterranean route that stretches in Croatia from Istria to Dubrovnik. It is important to monitor projects at the interregional level and not to reduce cycling infrastructure at the local and regional level and across national borders. It is a great advantage that such infrastructure can be used for cycling tourism, but also for day trips from the place of residence to work. ” said MP Cramer.Photo: TZ KvarnerThe total economic benefit from cycling tourism in 2013 for all EU Member States was € 513 billion, which is more than € 1000 per capita. According to a 2012 study by the European Parliament, annual income of cycling tourism in the European Union amounted to 44 billion euros, while, for example, the cruiser’s revenue was 39 billion euros. “Cruisers are not a sustainable form of tourism due to the negative impact on the environment and the increasing burden on cities and ports in which they dock, while cycling does not adversely affect the local community and we can develop it throughout the year thus extending the tourist season, which is one of the goals Tourism development strategies of the Republic of Croatia until 2020. Cyclists travel with little luggage and spend a lot more on food as opposed to cruise guests to whom everything is available on board. Such guests require good infrastructure with very little adjustment of the existing tourist offer according to their needs, for example, accommodation adapted to cyclists with supervised parking and the possibility of transporting the bicycle by public transport.”Points out MP Škrlec.Although the European Union has invested billions of euros in major infrastructure projects, smaller infrastructure ventures continue to be patched up at local, regional and national levels. Numerous connections along cross-border rail lines are still missing, as well as between other forms of public transport and bicycle networks between regions, even within a single state, thus hampering the daily mobility of citizens. “The Greens therefore made a proposal to connect the missing roads, the so-called ‘Missing Links’. Guided by the slogan ‘small but powerful’, we analyzed more than 250 cross-border connections in the European Union, focusing mainly on regional roads outside the main corridors. We have managed to include the cycling network in the guidelines of the Trans-European Road Network (TEN-T), which means that they can now be co-financed from the appropriate EU funds. After years of advocacy by regions, civic initiatives and politicians, the European Commission finally took over the idea of ‘Missing Links’ and in July 2017 for the first time decided to set aside € 140 million to fund small-scale cross-border links that do not currently exist. Croatia can also benefit from this initiative. ” concluded MP Cramer.