The Tourism Limburg organization has succeeded in landing the ‘EuroVelo & Cycle Tourism Conference’ 2018, the No. 1 international cycling conference for professionals in the tourism sector. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) selected the province from ten different European candidates to be the host for the fourth event. Igor Philtjens, regional Minister for Tourism and President of the Tourism Limburg organization: “It’s not only a substantial boost for Limburg’s international image to get the chance to organise this congress, it’s also a strong impetus for the Limburg leisure economy and business tourism in our province.” ECF will now get down to business together with Tourism Limburg organization. Today, both parties ratified their collaboration with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at ECF’s headquarters in Brussels.


Every two years since 2012, ECF has organised the EuroVelo & Cycle Tourism Conference, a prominent European cycling tourism congress. EuroVelo is the network of long-distance cycle routes, aiming to connect all European countries. The EuroVelo conference aims to gather professionals from the tourism and cycle tourism sectors from around the world to discuss this growing market that employs over 600,000 Europeans and generates an economic impact of over EUR 44 billion every year for the European economy. The congress has previously been held in Nantes (2012), Basle (2014) and Vienna (2016). Early this year, ECF went on the hunt for a new city or region to host the fourth edition this autumn. Ádám Bodor, EuroVelo Director: "We are delighted to be bringing this year’s EuroVelo & Cycle Tourism Conference to Limburg. We hope to use the occasion to showcase some of the innovative techniques that have been used to develop cycle tourism in the region, including ‘junctions’ - the famous cycle node system.”


Limburg selected from ten European candidates

The Tourism Limburg organization put itself forward as a candidate to secure the congress for Limburg via the BLCB – an initiative under the umbrella of Tourism Limburg, which promotes and supports business tourism in the province -. This meant competing with nine other European candidates. Based on a comprehensive bid book, featuring all the cycle knowledge and skills that the region possesses, the ECF finally selected a top three. An ECF delegation then subjected these to a thorough, on-location inspection visit. Limburg finally emerged as the winning region. Primarily, it was a decision based on the knowledge and expertise available concerning cycle tourism. “Cycle tourism is, and will remain, our ‘core business’. Over 20 years ago, ‘cycling from junction to junction ’ was invented in Limburg. Today – with projects such as Cycling Through the Water – we are investing in another experience layer on top of the existing cycle route network in order to stay in front,” says Igor Philtjens. “With this congress we are stretching far beyond our national boundaries to put Limburg on the map as a pre-eminent cycling destination. So this once again confirms our status as Cycling Paradise!”


Direct and indirect return on investment for Limburg

The three previous times the congress was held, more than 340 delegates attended from more than 38 different countries. This year, the congress is expecting 150 to 200 participants. First and foremost, this means a strong boost for the Limburg leisure economy. Igor Philtjens explains: “As an estimate, assume that a congress visitor spends an average of EUR 240 a day. And with over 150 participants expected, who will stay for several days in and around Hasselt – so eating, drinking and accommodation – this congress means a substantial boost for local hotel and catering businesses. This is why we, as Tourism Limburg organization, are happy to invest in congresses like this one.” Besides this, Limburg will also benefit from the international knowledge interchange that has brought the congress into being and the congress additionally increases the presence of the province on a European level.


Attracting more international congresses to Flanders

The congress fits in completely with the strategy of the Tourism Limburg organization and VISITFLANDERS, who have been combining forces since the end of last year to bring more association congresses to Flanders. To this end, VISITFLANDERS is also collaborating closely with Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Louvain. Now, Limburg is also adding its weight to the association efforts made by VISITFLANDERS. “VISITFLANDERS and the local congress bureaus are making every effort to attract more international congresses to Flanders. Congress participants are, after all, generous visitors who contribute a lot to the tourism sector and our economy. I am extra pleased about the arrival of the EuroVelo & Cycle Tourism Conference because cycling culture has a special place in every Flemish heart. The congress participants will really feel at home in the green cycling region of Limburg,” confirms the Flemish Minister of Tourism, Ben Weyts.


Radisson Blu as beating heart and cycling experience as theme

The EuroVelo & Cycle Tourism Conference 2018 will take place on 26-27-28 September. The central theme is ‘The Cycling Tourism Experience’ and the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hasselt is the beating heart of the congress events. The three-day congress will finish with various Side & Social Events. For example, trips to Cycling Through the Water and the International Meuse cycle route (presently a EuroVelo route candidate), a visit to Bike Valley, cycling on the Zolder Circuit etc. “In this way, new international target groups can get to know Limburg. We also hope that they will come back as guests, together with friends or family, to discover more of our beautiful province,” concludes Igor Philtjens.

Igor Philtjens (Regional Minister for Tourism) and Bernhard Ensink (Secretary General of ECF) signing the Memorandum of Understanding at the ECF’s headquarters in Brussels.


Press contact at Tourism Limburg vzw: Leentje Verlinden, + 32 11 30 55 71, mobile + 32 478 91 91 46, leentje.verlinden@limburg.be



Mission of Tourism Limburg not-for-profit association
To develop and promote market-oriented, high-quality, attractive and sustainable tourism with public and private actors within the leisure economy. We thereby strive for added value for all tourism actors and to position Limburg as a strong brand and a distinctive tourism destination in the heart of Europe.