As Fort William gears up to once again host the adrenaline-charged UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on 4-5 June 2016, organisers Rare Management reveal the event has brought a £30m boost to Highland tourism since 2002.
Renowned for being one of the must-see events on the Scottish sporting calendar, over quarter of a million fans have descended on Fort William since the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup came to the Highlands 14 years ago.
The figures have been released as the ‘Early Bird’ tickets go on sale for next year’s event. Available from 1-31 December, the Early Bird tickets are the perfect Christmas gift for all bike fans. Ticket prices remain at 2015 prices, making Early Bird tickets even more attractive.
Fort William delivers one of the best and most gruelling courses on the World Cup circuit. 2016 promises to be more exciting than ever with plans underway to add new features to the notorious 2.8km downhill course, giving riders a fresh competitive challenge.
Mike Jardine, from Rare Management, said: “Fort William has legendary status amongst the global mountain bike community, thanks to the incredibly enthusiastic crowds. They make the event and give it such a fantastic, nerve-tingling atmosphere.
“The Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup and BUFF 4X Pro Tour weekend has grown into a must-see fixture on the Scottish sporting calendar for families and die-hard fans alike and the impact on the local economy is huge. It’s also broadcast to millions of people around the world, helping to raise the profile of Scotland and the Highlands as the ultimate bike-friendly destination.
“2016 is going to be a real celebration of the legends of the sport – especially some of the home heroes who are always the crowd’s favourites. It’s time to salute these greats, so we’d advise fans to get their tickets early to make sure they are part of what could be an incredible weekend.”
Over the 2015 weekend, more than 19,000 fans witnessed a thrilling climax, with Great Britain’s Rachel Atherton claim her second Fort William title and South African, Greg Minnaar, a record-breaking fifth win.
Sponsored by BUFF® and Silverline for the third year and with support from Event Scotland and Highland Council, the Fort William stage of the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup takes place at the Nevis Range ski area, 9km from Fort William.
Councillor Thomas Maclennan, Leader of the Lochaber Area Committee for Highland Council said: “Our figures show that the World Cup was worth £2.8 million to the area in 2015. However, having such a prestigious competition on our doorstep provides world-wide publicity which money can’t buy.
“Continuing to host this event helps to showcase the scenery, terrain and local enthusiasm that cements Fort William’s reputation as a haven for outdoor activities.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “This is a fantastic figure and a gives a tremendous boost to the Highland economy. It really is testament to the great organisation of this incredibly popular annual event and the multitude of spectators it attracts from all corners of the globe.
“The visitor economy causes a ripple effect that touches every industry, business and community in the country – from laundry to life sciences. This news perfectly illustrates how important events such as the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William are to tourism in our regions. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs, sustains communities and provides a shop window for business activity.”
Fans looking to secure tickets early can book now at a discounted rate through the ‘Early Bird’ ticket offer which is available from today until December 31. Buying now guarantees access to the Nevis Range gondola, which travels above the Downhill course between the start and the finish.
Prices remain unchanged from last year’s event, with tickets costing from £14 for adults and £8 for children aged 6 – 17 years old. Family packages are also available starting from £36.
For more information on purchasing an ‘Early Bird’ ticket, visit www.fortwilliamworldcup.co.uk where you can also find details about the event.