VANCOUVER – April 4, 2017 A new study supported by the District of Squamish finds that mountain bike trails in Squamish attracted $9.9 million in visitor spending in 2016. Mountain biking is a significant outdoor activity in the District of Squamish, with 25,180 riders taking over 202,000 rides in 2016. Of note, more than 20,000 riders and 99,000 rides were made by visitors from outside of the community, providing a significant boost to the local economy.
For the avid mountain biker it is no surprise that Squamish has become a sought after destination. With over 150 kilometers of maintained mountain bike trails surrounded by stunning mountain and coastal scenery it’s no wonder that it has been featured in many published articles and videos, played host to numerous events and media crews, and is now home to a number of professional riders, bike and adventure related businesses and tourism companies. The District of Squamish’s tag line sums it up perfectly, “Hard wired for Adventure.”
The results of the 2016 study illustrate the significant growth in mountain bike tourism for Squamish over the past decade. In 2006 a similar study was conducted which determined that mountain bike visitors spent $2.3 million in the community. This quadrupling of tourism spending over the past 10 years can be attributed to many factors. A major one has been the provincial policy introduced in 2008 to allow approved mountain bike trails on Crown Land under the Forest and Range Practices Act. Once trails are approved communities can then begin to promote them for local recreation and tourism.
Mountain bike tourism is likely to continue to grow in Squamish based on results from the Net Promoter Score (NPS) that was incorporated into the study. Riders were asked how likely they were to recommend Squamish as a destination on a scale of 0-10. The percentage of detractors (ratings of 0-6) are subtracted from the promoters (ratings of 9-10) to arrive at the Net Promoter Score. The NPS for local riders was +78, rising to +84 for out-of-town riders, meaning there is considerable potential for locals and visitors to be advocates for the Squamish trail system. The study also found that among the local trail users 82% said the trails were either important or very important for their decision to live in Squamish.
The Mountain Bike Tourism Association (MBTA), in partnership with the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA) surveyed mountain bikers to gather data to prepare an economic impact study of mountain biking in the Sea to Sky Corridor, including the communities of North Vancouver, Squamish, and Pemberton. The CSTA, working with Tourism Whistler and Whistler / Blackcomb, prepared studies of the Whistler trail system, the Whistler Bike Park and Crankworx in 2015.
Together, these studies provide an update to the 2006 economic impact of mountain biking in the Sea to Sky Corridor (the results for the entire Corridor are found in a separate report). Since 2006, mountain biking has experienced pronounced growth in the region. The 2016 research clearly demonstrates that the Sea to Sky Corridor is now a world-class mountain biking destination, attracting regional, national and international mountain bikers who travel to the region specifically for riding.
Survey data was collected via in-person intercepts at 4 primary locations in Squamish: Top of Perth, Legacy Parking lot, Alice Lake, and Half Nelson trailhead from June 11 to August 29, 2016. Interviewing shifts were staggered and covered morning, mid-day, and early evening throughout the summer on both weekdays and weekends. A total of 445 surveys were conducted. Volume estimates were determined from a combination of trail counters, survey responses and surveyor observations, and data obtained from Trailforks©, a popular online trail database and trail navigation app.
For the Squamish portion of the study we wish to thank the District of Squamish and Destination British Columbia for providing funding. We also wish to thank the Squamish Off Road Cycling Association, Tourism Squamish and Trailforks© for their help.