Tour de Yorkshire benefits are inflated – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Michael Clarke, Market Place, Kirkbymoorside.

YOUR columnist David Behrens (The Yorkshire Post June 12) highlights the problems when trying to quantify the benefits of the Tour de Yorkshire, being a free entry spectator event without any means of accurate assessment of spend or demographics, normally essential when applying for funding or creating a business plan.

You are left with a fairly vague judgement based on ‘guestimates’ by those with a vested interest in receiving yet more public funding in future years. The spectator numbers seemed to rise weekly dependent on who you asked and at one stage it was suggested that half of Yorkshire attended!

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Should the Tour de Yorkshire continue to be subsidised by local councils? Photo: James Hardisty.
Should the Tour de Yorkshire continue to be subsidised by local councils? Photo: James Hardisty.

Those that were tasked to estimate the economic values simply decided that all those who followed or simply watched the race as it sped by their homes spent several millions on refreshments, transport and services, forgetting that a similar spend would have been made if they’d stayed in their own towns and villages or had managed to avoid the hold ups on the roads.

Those businesses on the route saw increased trade whilst those distant saw a decrease. Similarly, those that stayed overnight displaced those that would have arrived from away as tourists.

The council leaders were mesmerised by the charismatic former chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire, Sir Gary Verity, who promised the “world arriving” when the reality, as Harrogate found out, was far different. His ambition far exceeded reality and his marketing ideas were largely crackpot. Who would have thought that attending the Chelsea Flower Show was an ideal venue to promote Yorkshire?

Yorkshire is fortunate having had decades of free publicity through a never-ending stream of exposure through films, television, books and even pudding.

Sir Gary Verity is the former chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire.

Yet I’m sure WTY, with the same uncanny ability it has shown in the past to spend public money, will discover some facet of Yorkshire to encourage another commercial sport or activity who are seeking to raise their profile with a helping hand from willing media subscription outlets, and return to the happy days of unaccountable expenses and luxury accommodation so beloved of previous management.

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