The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) announced that Ghent has won the bid to host Velo-city 2024, becoming the first Belgian city to host the conference since Brussels in 2009. ECF has chosen the city based on its impressive commitment to cycling in recent years, as well as its exceptional application to host the annual world cycling summit.
The event will bring together business, government, research and education under the theme “Connecting Through Cycling.”
Filip Watteeuw, Deputy Mayor for Mobility, said: “It is an incredible honour to be able to organise this bicycle event. Velo-city is not just a conference, it is a statement. The people of Ghent can be very proud about this. Velo-city 2024 is also the perfect opportunity to highlight our recent successes in the field of bicycle mobility.”
Bram Van Braeckevelt, Deputy Mayor for Tourism, said: “This is a good example of congress tourism with added value for Ghent. This congress is good for our tourism sector, interesting for our policymakers, strengthens the city's image and is a reward for all Ghent cyclists.”
Jill Warren, CEO of ECF, said: “We are very excited to announce that Velo-city, ECF’s annual flagship event, will take place in Ghent in 2024. Ghent is a remarkable cycling city that has shown an impressive commitment to cycling over the last decade, implementing progressive policies and innovative measures that have transformed its urban space and resulted in significantly more people using bikes as their go-to mode of transport. Based on their outstanding application, Velo-city 2024 is undoubtedly going to be a momentous and unforgettable occasion for the global cycling community, and one which we are already looking forward to.”
Set to take place in June 2024, the conference will be jointly organised by ECF, the Government of Flanders, the Province of East-Flanders, Mobility East-Flanders, the City Council of Ghent, the Official Convention Bureau Ghent Congres, Fietsersbond, the Cycling Embassy of Ghent and Fietsberaad Vlaanderen, while also being backed by professional conference organisers.
Velo-city is like no other event when it comes to cycling. Attracting over 1,400 delegates from more than 60 countries, it is the world’s leading knowledge-exchange platform for advocates, cities, decisionmakers, academics and industry leaders to meet and share progressive policy and enterprise ideas that ultimately shape the future of cycling.
The conference will be the perfect opportunity for Ghent to showcase its recent successes in improving cycling mobility. The city is widely regarded as a cycling stronghold thanks to a series of dramatic changes implemented over the last decade which saw the introduction of effective pro-cycling mobility measures year by year.
Many of these measures have been part of the “Mobility plan Ghent 2030”, which was approved in 2015 and has seen the introduction of new circulation plans implementing 30 km/h speed limits within the city ring and surrounding neighbourhoods, as well as the installation of around 6,500 bicycle parking spaces in subsequent years.
These measures, amongst others, have produced astounding results. In six years the modal share of cyclists has increased from 22% in 2012 to 30% in 2015 and 35% in 2018, meaning Ghent has already achieved its 2030 target of 35% modal share of cycling.