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Department of Transport and Main Roads

Bike tourism

Bike tourism is a large and growing industry.

Research commissioned by the Queensland Government revealed there is significant latent demand and a lucrative $1.95 billion national market for bike tourism experiences. Queensland’s idyllic weather allows domestic and international visitors to ride at any time of year.

The Queensland Government is committed to supporting the growth of bike tourism to help strengthen Queensland's economy and revitalise local communities.


Bike Tourism in Queensland research


Bike tourism opportunities in Queensland — A snapshot

Download the snapshot report Bike tourism opportunities in Queensland – A snapshot.

Queensland Government commissioned research revealed there is significant latent demand and a lucrative $1.95 billion national market for bike tourism experiences. However, Queensland is missing out on the market due to limited products. Queensland can capitalise on the opportunities by investing in great bike tourism experiences. Half and single day off-road trail riding experiences have strong market appeal and can be relatively inexpensive to develop. Multi-day trail rides and mountain biking experiences are also in demand. With co-ordination, we can grow bike tourism in Queensland.

Latest demand for bike tourism experiences + Already strong support from tourism sector to focus on market = Significant unrealised potential for Queensland.

What is bike tourism?

  • Bike riding on leisure trips.
  • A popular activity enjoyed by many.
  • An influential reason to visit a destination.

4 types of bike tourism with greatest scale of opportunity and best fit with Queensland's natural environment:

  • Trail riding.
  • Holiday riding.
  • Mountain biking.
  • Road cycling.

What's the market?

Estimated annual value of bike tourism industry globally: $140 billion

Overnight bike tourism visitor expenditure comprises:

  • $1.95 billion spent on travel within Australia*
  • $432 million spent on travel within Queensland.

Queensland economy

  • Going in: $139 million spent by Queenslanders in Queensland + $239 million spent by visitors in Queensland
  • Going out: $252 million spent by Queenslanders in other states + $928 million spent by interstate residents travelling to other states…

A missed opportunity for Queensland.

* Spending driven by the more than 1 in 10 adults who rode a bike on either an overnight trip or day trip 50km+ from home in last 12 months.

What's the demand?

Single day trail riding

  • 9 million find it appealing.
  • 563,000 rode a bike on a trip.

Multi-day trail riding

  • 5.4 million find it appealing.
  • 96,000 rode a bike on a trip.

Road cycling

  • 4.5 million find it appealing.
  • 323,000 rode a bike on a trip.

Mountain biking

  • 4.3 million find it appealing.
  • 177,000 rode a bike on a trip.

46% of adults say they enjoy riding bikes on holidays (equivalent to 6.8 million people)… But only 10% of adults rode a bike on a trip in the last 12 months.

What bike tourists want…

  • Off-road experiences
  • Easy to find and reassuring information
  • Hassle-free experiences
  • A biking culture.

More than just bike riding

Irrespective of bike tourism type, motivating potential visitors requires offering a complete experience.

Other experiences to support and complement the bike riding are critically important — they must be authentic and fit with the destination.

Increased popularity of bike tourism

Bike tourism aligns with key tourism industry trends, meaning the popularity of these experiences will continue to increase and supports developing bike tourism. Trends include:

  • Escaping crowds
  • Nature-based experiences
  • Active and adventure tourism
  • Ecotourism
  • 'Insta-worthy' moments.

Impact of great bike tourism experiences

92% will recommend a great experience to family and friends.

22% will recommend a good experience to family and friends.

What's the opportunity for Queensland?

  • Half and single day trail riding
  • Multi-day trail riding
  • Mountain biking

Queensland should still embrace opportunities that involve road cycling but preference should be given to non-road riding experiences.

Queensland Government action to realise the potential of these opportunities:

  • Creating a framework to shape bike tourism development in Queensland.
  • Prioritising and investing in new bike tourism experiences, including rail trails.
  • Supporting developers of bike tourism with information and advice.
  • Supporting and promoting bike tourism, including special events.

Bike tourism benefits

  • Spend distributed across sectors of the economy.
  • Can be developed without competing with existing tourism businesses.
  • Can create tourism destinations by linking smaller attractions.
  • Experiences can be developed at a local level.
  • Leverages underutilised land assets.
  • Experiences can also be enjoyed by the local community.
  • Attracts tourists to regional communities.

4 key success factors for growing bike tourism in Queensland

  • Clear governance model.
  • Engaged local community.
  • Leveraging events.
  • Destination branding.

Keen to know more?

Download the full report Bike Tourism in Queensland – Research Report.

Note: All data in this snapshot is travel by Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian residents in the year ending November 2018.
Source: Bike Tourism in Queensland – Research Report, Department of Transport and Main Roads, September 2022.


Bike tourism case study: Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) is Australia’s longest rail trail. Completed in 2018, it uses the disused rail corridor between Wulkuraka, near Ipswich, and Yarraman, west of Kilcoy. Discover more about how the region has been revitalised and how businesses are thriving thanks to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.

Download the full Brisbane Valley Rail Trail – Bike tourism case study.


Last updated 28 June 2024