Inspired by the success of the North Coast 500 and the Coig routes in Scotland, the six routes, due to be launched in October, will combine “town and village destinations” with three, five and seven-day itineraries designed “to inspire visitors to stay longer and return”.
The BID said the North Coast 500 had “delivered great success for the area in Scotland with an increase in visitors and increased overnight stays from one to five nights.
“We see significant economic benefits from the route launch for the entire coastal area, which will in turn benefit our members.”
However while attracting more tourism, the North Coast 500 has brought its own problems – including, reportedly, putting a strain on roads maintenance and campers leaving a trail of human waste and litter behind.
Although the specific routes, which will tie in with a recently launched sculpture trail, are yet to be published, concerns have already been expressed about the potential for extra traffic in busy seaside towns.
Chairman of the BID Clive Rowe-Evans insisted they want to promote the route in “the greenest possible way” and they are not aiming to bring people specifically into towns.
He admitted most people would “inevitably” arrive by car, but said they’d be directed to a car park from where they could cycle on short routes.
People could also set out for a walk, and there would also be electric vehicle charging points and bike repair stations on the routes.
He said there will be a website and an app for businesses who wanted to be promoted, adding; “The principle of it is for people to stay longer and enjoy more of what the coast has got – staying longer and spending more time in individual areas.”
While they couldn’t use capital funds to alleviate parking, they are “working with local authorities and others to address that problem”.
Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill said: “It isn’t what I call cutting edge innovation. If it’s a free resource online and you can download the route, I’m sure people will use it. But if I was a business person I might be thinking is that it? Is that what I’m paying for?”
He said there was a dearth of electric charging points in Scarborough – with two at the Lidl on Seamer Road and another one rumoured to be at a local hotel.
“If you come to the coast on a holiday with an electric car don’t expect to find it easy to charge up.”
John Freeman, chairman of the Whitby and District Tourism Association, which has 50 members, said news of the initiative came as “quite a surprise”. He said: “We are very much in the dark. We’ve had no consultation whatsoever about this.
“It’s like dealing with Scarborough Borough Council, you don’t get consultation, you simply get a package – that’s it.”
Mr Freeman welcomed that the BID hadn’t tried to be all-inclusive in its approach, but wasn’t sure whether a package would attract more people or that the necessary infrastructure was there. He said: “There’s a total of one (electric car charging point) in Whitby. I can’t think of any others.”
Scarborough Borough Council said it is developing a plan for electric vehicle charging points in its car parks. The plan is expected to go before its Cabinet for approval during the autumn.