WA Government cashes in on bike tourism

By Julian Bajkowski

The Western Australian capital of Perth has become the latest city to hitch a ride on growing trend of bicycle-based tourism, announcing that the ‘Tour de Perth’ will be pushed up to national completion level and become part of Cycling Australia’s Subaru National Road Series.

According to WA Tourism Minister Kim Hames, the upgraded event will now kick-off  the Subaru National Road Series calendar of events from April 2013, with organisers confident they can attract international competitors.

Despite being selectively pilloried by some conservative politicians and talkback radio hosts as a selfish inner urban, latte-sipping, hotbed of green radicalism that aims to steal bitumen and parking spaces from car drivers, the growth of cycling has become a significant way of attracting international and domestic tourists.

The WA Government has been quick to link itself to the expansion of Tour de Perth, with Dr Hames emphasising the state was backing the event through the sponsorship of state-owned events agency Eventscorp.

“Hosting this event will put Western Australia on the professional road cycling map,” Dr Hames said, adding that the event will feature stages to be held within the “city, Kings Park, Perth hills and at Rottnest Island.”

However it is not just professional cyclists and their fans Perth is hoping to entice. The timing of the road racing event has been slated to dovetail with the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) World Cycling Tour Masters, which will be held for the third time in 2013.

The more open event acts as a substantial drawcard to both amateur and competition cyclists who can take on the same courses as elite racers.

Dr Hames said that the UWCT had attracted attracting “more than 390 riders last year.” he said.

The Minister said the road series event would coincide with the UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) Masters event, to be held for the third time in 2013.

“The UWCT event has become popular among amateur cyclists, attracting more than 390 riders last year,” he said.

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