Wallonia's Tourism Minister, Valérie De Bue, inaugurated on Saturday seven mountain-bike trails in the communes of Aywaille and Bouillon, in Liège and Luxembourg provinces respectively.
These are permanent trails “especially designed for mountain-bikers who like the more technical slopes and routes,” the minister’s office said.
Specific markings and colour codes for every level of difficulty have been placed along the trails.
By this summer, four mountain-bike trails are expected to be set up in Wallonia’s municipalities of Ottignies, Malmedy, Chaudfontaine, and Amay, according to Belga news agency. These are in addition to three trail hubs in already announced in Spa, Aywaille and Bouillon.
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The idea behind the new trails is to attract more mountain-bike tourists to Wallonia, which has 200,000 practitioners of the sport from other regions of the country.
"The creation of mountain-bike trail hubs is a first in Belgium," Ms. De Bue said. “Wallonia wishes to be considered the best mountain bike destination in Europe."
“Wallonia’s landscapes offer many attractions for practicing outdoor sports,” she added. “Sports tourism is an opportunity not to be missed. Other circuits will soon be created, namely for lovers of pathway trails or road-cycling.”
The creation of the mountain-bike trails is the result of a year of collaborative work between land owners, the Nature and Forest Department, local tourism actors, and cyclists, the Minister’s office said. Their existence should improve relations between the various users of the forest and the protection of natural spaces, it added.