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MICA is pleased to announce that early Ferry traffic numbers given to MICA mid-September show more than 4,000 cycles were counted on the Ferry to Manitoulin in 2013. This is a huge increase over the 1,395 counted in 2012. In addition, a MICA survey found that 50% of our cycling tourists came by other means, a factor that is not included in the above count.
Cycling tourism is taking off in Ontario and will have a significant impact on Manitoulin Island! This is exciting news and is reflected in what MICA has heard from many accommodation providers across the Island whose guests came specifically to cycle Manitoulin while also taking in hikes, museums, galleries and frequently visiting the many eateries in our little towns.
On June 8/9, 2013, MICA’s 3rd Annual Passage Ride brought over 80 cyclists to Manitoulin, which helped to fill our shoulder season. We expect to see many return to attend the 4th Annual Manitoulin Passage Ride planned for June 7&8, 2014. Map sales on our website showed that cyclists plan ahead by ordering the Manitoulin Cycling Routes and Road Map online. MICA answered many cycling questions online iand helped cycling route scouts prepare tours for their clients next year.
MICA is happy to have received Spark Funding in the amount of $5000 covering the local 10% needed for the feasibility study for the Georgian Bay Cycling Route funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and FedNor. The winning contractor has begun working on the Georgian Bay Cycling Route together with the steering committee represented by LAMBAC, MICA, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs) 7 and 12 and the Sudbury Cyclists Union.
We are eagerly awaiting the results Transportation Options and The Resource Management Consulting Group are compiling for this project. Transportation Options and The Resource Management Consulting Group are two companies with extensive route building, tourism and active transportation experience. Together they will complete the route scouting work started by Denis Baldwin, a MICA member, and build on MICA’s work to engage Municipalities, First Nations, RTOs and Tourism Associations all around Georgian Bay.
This 900 km route will encourage many Municipalities to create connections to it around Georgian Bay, opening up opportunities to choose an active lifestyle. Due to its geographical location, the Georgian Bay Cycling Route will be one of Ontario’s main cycling routes connecting and guiding cyclists from all points of the compass safely across the province. Once implemented, international marketing will potentially bring cyclists from all parts of the world to experience the Great Lakes region and Manitoulin.
MICA would like to encourage more businesses on Manitoulin to join the Welcome Cyclists network, a great way to attract this new tourism segment with a few easy steps. Please contact MICA if you would like more information on how to join the Welcome Cyclists network.
MICA is currently also looking for accommodation providers in every town on Manitoulin who would like to cater to this growing cycling tourism by offering luggage shuttle services to cyclists, thereby creating a network right across the Island. MICA’s survey showed that 50% of our visitors would be willing to pay a fee for shuttle services. If you are interested, please call 705-377-4471 and check out our website accommodations page.