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Dream destination

Dumfries and Galloway an 'absolute gem'

Warren Sanders and Esther Tacke cycled round the world before taking over Galloway Cycling Holidays in Dumfries & Galloway

A pair of cycling fanatics – self-proclaimed “bike bores” – who spent four years spanning the globe on pedal power alone, found their dream cycling destination in Dumfries and Galloway.

Husband and wife, Warren Sanders and Esther Tacke, cycled 32,499 miles on their round-the-world trip, taking in Asia, USA, Europe and New Zealand, but it was on their last leg home through Scotland that they fell in love with the region – which they call an “absolute gem”.

Now the couple plan to draw on their own cycling experience and share their passion for Dumfries and Galloway – recently named in the top 10 destinations to visit in 2018, by influential German online travel magazine GEO.de – to international visitors, particularly German and US visitors, through Galloway Cycling Holidays.

They took over the cycling tour company earlier this year, after the previous owner approached them on hearing the couple talk about their worldwide adventures.

The business was relaunched last month as they joined seven fellow tourism businesses on VisitScotland’s business development mission to Germany.

The three-day mission, organised by the national tourism body, saw industry partners travel to Hamburg and Stuttgart for one-to-one meetings with 16 key tour operators from the German market.

Germany is a major international visitor market for Scotland and was the second largest source market for visits and expenditure in 2016, with 355,000 trips amounting to £212 million in visitor spend.

Research shows that German visitors see Scotland as a destination for “romantic adventures” and like to venture off the beaten track and enjoy the country through walking and exploring.

Galloway Cycling Holidays offers a variety of routes and bespoke tours in the Dumfries and Galloway area from its base in Kirkcudbright.

Esther Tacke, who is German-born and co-owner of Galloway Cycling Holidays, said: “When we returned from our round the world trip, we actually cycled through Dumfries and Galloway as part of our journey home to Edinburgh. We knew the area already, but fell in love with the place again. We were down here last November on holiday – loved the place and its people, and went home to sell our flat. We moved down here in February and by the end of March we had agreed to take over the cycling holiday company.

“Cycling is a wonderful way to explore a region; slow enough to experience things and fast enough to get somewhere. Dumfries and Galloway has such a beautiful and varied landscape with a network of hundreds of miles of quiet cycle friendly roads. We have more history than most to offer. Along our 200 miles of coast and upland hills we have stories of Romans, pirates, smugglers, Vikings, reivers and enough castles, forts and special places to visit on a bike.”

Paula Ward, VisitScotland Regional Director said: “From Galloway Forest Park to our wonderful coastal routes, Dumfries and Galloway offers the avid cyclist an array of beautiful landscapes to explore.

“We were delighted Galloway Cycling Holidays could join us on our mission to capture the German market and with Dumfries and Galloway named as one of the top destinations to visit in 2018, we look forward to welcoming many more adventurous German visitors to the region.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience. It is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change.”

The tourism industry partners included in the VisitScotland German development mission were:

●Caledonian Discovery

●Dolphin Spirit

●Dunkeld House Hotel

●Errichel House & Cottages

●Galloway Cycling Holidays

●Knockderry House Hotel

●ScotRail

●Spirit Journeys

For more on Galloway Cycling Holidays go to www.gallowaycycling.com

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