On October 2-4, Whistler, BC will be the location for the 2019 MTB Tourism Symposium powered by Trailforks.  This is the 5th symposium organized by the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association (aka MBTA) the same organization behind Mountain Biking BC, Bike Parks BC and number of other regional initiatives designed to increase awareness for the diverse mountain biking experiences found throughout British Columbia.

Trailforks has been a game changer in the mountain bike world, especially in British Columbia where the terrain is so vast and the forests so dense that finding the trails was once a major challenge.  We are proud of the fact that Trailforks is made in BC and proud to have them as our title sponsor.  Their involvement is a great fit.  Trailforks is a true enabler for mtb tourism, allowing riders to plan and visit new areas and get the most out of their riding time in new destinations.

So, you may be wondering what goes on at a mtb tourism symposium?  Well there is a lot, from trail building workshops to panel discussions and presentations dealing with the most relevant issues and opportunities impacting the mountain bike sector.  There are plenty of networking opportunities and as much riding as possible.  It’s a packed schedule that will provide participants with the latest information, new ideas, and useful connections.

The theme of this year’s symposium is Managing Success – The Path to Sustainable Mountain Biking.  It’s a lofty goal and one that has numerous challenges.  Participation in outdoor adventure activities is growing rapidly, particularly land based activities, including mountain biking.  The growth has been a huge benefit to many communities trying to diversify their local economies and create meaningful jobs for local residents not to mention the social benefits related to health and quality of life.  However, it has become a delicate balance between encouraging growth and managing the impacts.

There has been a great response from speakers and the preliminary schedule will be announced soon. In the meantime, here is a preview of the panel discussions that we are working on for this year’s symposium:

Managing Success at the Center of the MTB Universe – Community leaders from Whistler will discuss their perspective on Whistler attaining global status as a mountain biking destination.

The Adventure Tourism Sector in BC; Challenges and Opportunities – Advocates for adventure tourism discuss what is needed to create a thriving and sustainable industry.

What Does Sustainable MTB Look Like? – Hear what some of the most successful and established trail associations in the province have to say.

Influencers and the Quest for Eyeballs – Learn about the growth of the social media influencer phenomenon.  How is it changing destination marketing and who controls the message?

Treading Lightly; Eco-Systems of Concern Across the Province – Ecology experts discuss the importance of protecting key eco-systems and how to reduce environmental impacts from mountain biking.

The Value of Research – As big data transforms the research landscape, we discuss the value of academic research and how it is or can be relevant to mountain biking and trails.

If you have a stake in mountain biking and care about its future, please join us in Whistler and be part of the conversation.  The focus may be on British Columbia, but many of the issues are universal to the broader mountain biking community.  This is a chance to learn and to share ideas that will benefit the future of mountain biking and create a unified voice for the sector.