The Tour de Force means business

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Since our beautiful valley was shot to international audiences during broadcast coverage of this summer’s Tour de France Grand Depart, local tourism has gone through the roof.

The visual wonder of the valley was shared with the world and since July 6 tourism footfall in Calderdale has increased.

A surge in post Tour de Yorkshire tourism has been felt throughout the county and holiday visits have almost doubled at 43 per cent growth and the first six months of 2014 were the strongest first half of a year for inbound Yorkshire tourism since 2008, figures from VisitBritain revealed.

Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain, said: “Early indications suggest that 2014 is shaping up to be another record year for inbound tourism to Yorkshire, with the impact of hosting the Tour de France Grand Depart on a global stage still to come.”

Cycling and community mania swept over the region as stage two of the Tour de France peloton cycled through Pecket Well; Hebden Bridge; Mytholmroyd; Cragg Vale; Blackstone Edge; Ripponden; Greetland; West Vale and Elland; after the Calderdale route was successfully secured by Welcome to Yorkshire in 2013.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The team worked tirelessly to put our county where it belongs – on the world stage. Since we announced our bid was successful to bring the Tour de France to Yorkshire we’ve seen a huge surge in interest, visits and importantly spend in the county.

“Tourism is an economic powerhouse - it creates jobs, growth and helps reduce the national deficit, not add to it.”

Increase in tourism means business for Calderdale traders and employees.

Ripponden’s The Fox Bar and Bistro manager Gavin Melnyk said the success of the ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ still lingers with the pub welcoming more ‘new faces’ to the Oldham Road public house.

Councillor Steve McCarley, chairman of Ripponden Parish Council, said: “As a result of the Tour de France visit to Ripponden, the area did and still continues to enjoy an increase in visitors from both home and abroad which has helped recognise the natural beauty of the parish along with outstanding local shops, restaurants and bars that Ripponden has to offer.”

Greetland’s Brow Bridge, Rochdale Road, cafe owner Philomena Dominiak said post Tour de France business is booming for them.

“We had a lot of customers coming here with their bikes prior to the Tour de France but we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of customers on bikes following July 6. More out of town people are coming through the door. For Brow Bridge and the wider area - the Tour de France has been brilliant for business.”

A Hebden Bridge tourist information spokesperson said: “The legacy of the Tour de France has been exceptionally phenomenal in Hebden Bridge. So many tourists who are visiting say it’s because they saw us on the TV - eventhough the Tour de France live coverage went to commercial adverts when the peloton passed through our town.

“Tourism in the town is through the roof at the minute - we hope it continues to grow.”

The Tour de France Economic and Social Impact report - giving a clear idea of the impact of the Tour for Yorkshire - will be published in December.

Calderdale Council’s director of communities and business change, Robin Tuddenham, said: “The race certainly promoted Calderdale as a great visitor destination, and we are working to build on the success of the day.”