Tourism chiefs state ‘Grand Depart boost is to continue’ as figures show prolonged economic impact

Tourism leaders believe that the economic impact of the Tour de France Grand Depart will be felt in the county for years to come.

Tour cyclists take on Grinton Moor during stage one of the 2014 Grand Depart. Picture by Shaun Flannery/SWpix.com.

Ahead of the Great Yorkshire Show this week, Yorkshire figures have spoken of their confidence of Le Tour’s impact after the latest Visit England statistics showed the overall visitor spend in the White Rose has almost doubled in 12 months.

When comparing the period from January to March 2014 to the same quarter of this year the amount that visitors to Yorkshire spent increased by 45 per cent to £380million.

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Yorkshire’s visitor numbers hit 2.3m – a 23 per cent increase on the first quarter of 2014 – and the number of nights visitors spent in the county reached 5.3m.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency and Tour bid winners Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see that the county and its businesses are reaping the rewards of Yorkshire’s Grand Depart.

“We knew that once we showcased Yorkshire to the world, we would inspire potential visitors to come and see this beautiful county for themselves.

“These fantastic statistics show just that and I have no doubt that Yorkshire businesses will continue to flourish and build on that success for many years to come.”

The statistics, from Visit England’s Great Britain Tourism Survey, are said to be more “robust” at a national level and show trips to England increased 22 per cent to 19.6m last year.

Yorkshire was not alone in witnessing a boost in tourism although Visit England has warned that its survey results need to be viewed in the context of early 2014, when flooding affected parts of the country and in March specifically trip volumes and values declined by around a fifth nationwide.

Meanwhile rental company holidaycottages.co.uk has seen a 120 per cent increase in Yorkshire bookings in July 2015 compared to July 2014.

Managing director James Morris said: “As one of the fastest growing areas in our portfolio, Yorkshire is a top destination for our holidaymakers.

“The boom in the area has a lot to thank the Grand Depart for; for showing the world what a stunning place Yorkshire is and how much is has to offer all types of holidaymakers.”

On a localised level the likes of Yorebridge House, in Bainbridge, North Yorkshire, say their turnover has increased 20 per cent year on year and June 2015 was their best month in eight years.

Best Western Cedar Court Hotel at Harrogate has seen a 14 per cent rise in turnover, prompting a major refurbishment of their bedrooms, conferencing and dining rooms.

Visit England’s statistics also showed that the amount visitors spent in the North East this year rose 35 per cent from the first quarter of 2014 to £144m, while the North West saw a 14 per cent boost in visitor spend to £459m.

London’s overall visitor spend from January to March this year also went up by around 16 per cent compared to last year, with visitor numbers growing by 21 per cent.