CYCLING AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVING HEALTH TOURISM IN İZMİR
Izmir has been a traditional tourism destination for holiday, culture and history seekers for many years, and however the city has many advantages for some other alternative tourism options. Cycling, as one of the major sport activities for health and a kind of special interest tourism, is getting popular among the city dwellers recently. Convenient and long cycling routes help to meet the basic requirements of local and external bikers in the region. The city has already been a member of the European Cycle Route Network (EuroVelo) with its projected 491 km long cycle routes. The basic objective of this study is to examine the bicycle tourism as an opportunity
for local tourism. This study was designed as a qualitative descriptive research by interviewing some professional cyclists, experts and professionals in Izmir province in order to have their ideas about the development potential of bicycle tourism and then the effects of EuroVelo membership of Izmir. The results of the study explain that the bicycle tourism in Izmir has not sufficiently been developed yet, but the interest of local people and foreigners is still raising and bicycle tourism has much potential for the development of local tourism.