Economic Impact Assessment and Phase 2 Implementation Report

Year:
Uses studied:
Place: Quesenel, Williams Lake

Overview

This study found that the trail systems in the Cariboo region of British Columbia are seeing consistent annual growth in trail use and economic impact, driven largely by more overnight visitors from outside the area. To increase non-local visitors and the economic impact of mountain biking, the Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium has developed and promoted a single website for all the trail networks and events that draw racers from outside the area.

Relevance

This study is relevant for regions and collections of communities specifically looking to mountain biking as an economic development strategy. The study demonstrates the types of sectors to include in an economic impact assessment, how to track changes over time, and which marketing strategies have been most successful. This study is very similar to the 7stanes project in Scotland (see 81).

Location

The study is based in the Cariboo region of British Columbia between Fraser Canyon and the Cariboo Mountains in south central British Columbia. The largest towns are Quesnel, population 10,007 in 2011, and Williams Lake, population 10,832 in 2011.

Trail Type

There are seven trail networks in the region that cover hundreds of kilometers of trails serving all ability levels and types of terrain.

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to update a 2010 baseline assessment of mountain biking participation and economic impact, and report on marketing efforts for the area. The Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium (CMBC), which conducted the study, is required to track economic impact over time to determine whether it is meeting its goal of increasing the economic impact of mountain biking by 25 percent over three years.

Findings

  • Trail usage across the region has increased 30 percent since 2010. This growth is attributed to the popularity of regional mountain biking events and the CMBC website, which has helped raise awareness of the region.
  • There were approximately 10,162 trail visits in 2012. The proportion of riders originating from outside the region grew from 10 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2012, increasing the economic impact of the trails through higher daily expenditures and more overnight stays.
  • Daily expenditures are approximately C$19 for day users and C$77 for overnight users.
  • Total direct and indirect economic impact across all sources was C$2.3 million in 2012, an 11 percent increase from 2010.
  • Impacts from general trail use totaled $427,000 in 2012, a 21 percent increase from 2010.
  • Impacts from events totaled $85,000 in direct and indirect spending, a 15 percent decrease from 2010. Although mountain bike events are adding to the area’s reputation as a destination, there is substantial competition from other events in the region so it is important to focus on a few, high-quality events.
  • Bike shop sales revenue was C$1.6 million in 2012, an 8 percent increase from 2010. Employment has remained steady at 17.5 full-time employees.
  • Spending on trail construction and maintenance was $140,000 in 2012, a 100 percent increase from 2010.

Methods

The CMBC used a combination of automatic trail counters and intercept surveys to estimate trail use. Working with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, the CMBC installed automatic trail counters on three of the seven trail systems in the area.

The author based estimates of expenditures on another study in Western British Columbia (see study 89), although it is unclear what criteria were used to adjust these original numbers for local circumstances.

The author used the Sports Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM) to assess economic impacts.

Data on mountain bike-related businesses were obtained from a survey of the four major shops in the region.

Data on trail construction and maintenance expenses were self-reported by the CMBC itself.

Citation

Calof, J. 2012. Economic Impact Assessment and Phase 2 Implementation Report. Cariboo Mountain Bike Consortium.