A Dutch and Belgian Discovery

6th March 2014
A team representing cycling and walking in East and North Yorkshire has been promoting the pastimes to thousands of enthusiasts in the Low Countries.
Rupert Douglas, Area Manager of North and East Yorkshire for Sustrans, the UK charity which aims to enable people to travel more by foot, bike or public transport, and Malcolm Hodgson, the National Trails Officer for the Yorkshire Wolds Way and the Cleveland Way, and based at the North York Moors National Park head office in Helmsley, have just returned from their second trip across the North Sea this year.
In January the pair were at the Fiets en Wandelbeurs (cycling and walking) show in Mechelen, Belgium, where almost 13,500 people came through the doors. And last weekend, they were at its sister show in Amsterdam, which is estimated to have had around 20,000 visitors.
Rupert Douglas said: “With P&O ferries from Zeebrugge or Rotterdam, Hull makes a great gateway into East and North Yorkshire for the Belgians and Dutch.
“With our growing network of cycling and walking routes we’re increasingly able to tempt them to spend more, if not all, of their trip in our area, which is very good for our local accommodation and other tourism-related businesses.”
Malcolm Hodgson said that the show’s visitors really enjoyed the personal touch of being able to talk to two men who practise what they preach.
“They can get the bigger picture from our websites,” he said. “But they love to be able to sit down and talk about the fine details: everything from baggage transfers to whether they can bring their dog. These shows provide a great opportunity to do that.”
Fiets en Wandelbeurs is proving so popular that next year, the Belgian show is moving from Mechelen to the much larger Antwerp.
Rupert and Malcolm were representing a partnership comprising Visit Hull and East Yorkshire, Scarborough Borough Council, Ryedale District Council, the North York Moors National Park Authority and the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Janet Deacon, North Yorkshire Area Director for Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “With the Tour de France, the biggest annual cycling event, visiting the county this year, the eyes of the world will be on what Yorkshire has to offer those who love the outdoors.”

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Rupert Douglas (bike) and Malcolm Hodgson (walking) on the Yorkshire Wolds - Tony Bartholomew