The fourth running of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race, over the spring bank holiday, generated around 50 per cent more money for the region’s economy than the previous year’s event, according to figures out today.
The 2018 spectacle, a legacy of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France through Yorkshire, four years ago, was the first to be staged over four days instead of three.
A record 2.6m spectators – around four in five of them Yorkshire residents – are estimated to have lined the route for the main race, which is part of the Union Cycliste Internationale Europe Tour, and the parallel women’s event.
The crowds are said to have spent £41m on accommodation, and £56.8m on food, drink, transport and souvenirs in areas passed by the riders – a total increase of 54 per cent on the previous year.
This year’s race took in the seaside destinations of Scarborough, Filey and Hornsea and many towns and villages in the Dales, North York Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds.
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of the organisers, Welcome to Yorkshire, said the figures demonstrated that the event was “so much more than a bike race”.
He said: “The benefits it brings to Yorkshire innumerable. These figures support the feedback we received from right along the race route. In Garforth, for instance, businesses reported two weeks’ earnings in the space of 24 hours.
“In Richmond, all 12 cash machines ran out of money on the day they hosted the start of stage three. And in Beverley, cafés told us they’d had their busiest day all year.”
One accommodation operator in the Dales said the impact of the annual race was “repeatedly very positive”. Diane Howarth, based in Leyburn, said: “The route usually passes within 30 minutes of our cottages and returning guests book over a year in advance.
“A guest who had never visited the Dales before was persuaded to come by their partner after seeing the TV footage, and they have already booked to return again next year.”
In September next year, Yorkshire will also host the UCI Road World Championships, and Ms Howarth said one regular cycling visitor had already booked a 10-night stay.
Trevor Parker, of the cycle retailer Planet X in Rotherham, said the market for bikes and accessories had grown by 64 per cent in a year, driven in part by the profile of professional local teams such as Holdsworth, which competed at this year’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Sir Gary said: “It’s news like this which makes us so proud, and so passionate about building on these successes in the future.
“The Tour de Yorkshire is about bringing communities together as well and the way people turned out to support this year’s race was truly overwhelming.”