Cycle road races may mean a few inconvenient road closures, but their benefit to the local area and busineses can total into the millions, according to a new independent report.
Welcome to Yorkshire's Tour de Yorkshire has an economic benefit of £50 million. Across the race weekend (May 1st to 3rd 2015) that was split between £20.5 million on accommodation and £29.5 million on non-accommodation items such as food and drink, souvenirs and transport.
The research shows that 1.5 million spectators lined the roads over the three day race, with many watching more than one stage. In total the race attracted 1 million unique spectators.
Sir Gary Verity, chief exec of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “These are tremendous figures for the first edition of the Tour de Yorkshire. To generate £50million on race weekend and attract many visitors to the county just demonstrates how popular cycle racing in Yorkshire has become and how valuable hosting the races is to our regional economy.
“Preparations for next year’s race are coming on well and we can’t wait to announce the full route on 9th December. The race will be a fantastic event for spectators and will be one that the best riders in the world want to compete in.”
In addition to attending the race, 60% of spectators were inspired to cycle more frequently, and 98% of residents from the host towns felt that the race had been positive for their local area.
The majority of race spectators were Yorkshire residents (72.5%), with just over a fifth from elsewhere in the UK (20.5%) and 0.3% from abroad.
Planning is well underway for the 2016 edition of the race, which will see a new route through different parts of Yorkshire. The host towns for 2016 are Middlesbrough, Settle, Scarborough, Beverley, Otley and Doncaster. The full route of the 2016 race will be unveiled on 9 December.
The research results have been calculated from a survey conducted by independent research agency GRASP, involving 1,500 respondents who answered questions in person and online. Data was analysed by Leeds Beckett University.