‘Incredible’ Tour de France boosts Yorkshire and brings UK economy £130million

Crowds line the Tour de France route in Mytholmroyd
Crowds line the Tour de France route in Mytholmroyd

The Tour de France Grand Depart has boosted the UK economy by an estimated £130million, it has been revealed today.

A report published by race organisers has signalled that Yorkshire has benefitted to the tune of £102m after the region hosted two of the Grand Depart’s three stages on July 5 and 6 this year, attracting 3.3m spectators.

The positive effects of the 101st Tour’s visit look set to continue as Yorkshire is expected to see a further £24m boost from visitors returning to the region over the next two years.

Organisers have said “work is ongoing” to finalise whether the race has been staged within its £27m budget, which the report revealed included a £4m payment to Tour owners ASO for the rights to host the race.

Taking into account the debut of the arts-centred Yorkshire Festival 2014, the race’s first Team Presentation Opening Ceremony and the three days of cycling, Le Tour’s UK return and debut in Yorkshire has been hailed an “incredible success”.

Coun Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council which led local authority planning, said: “Hosting the start of the Tour de France elevated Leeds and Yorkshire to a platform it has never been on before. The key to its success was the way the public supported the event in such numbers and with such passion they made it a truly remarkable weekend no-one who saw it will ever forget.”

The report, led by Leeds City Council as the lead local authority and supported by UK Sport, Welcome to Yorkshire, Transport for London and TdFHUB2014 Ltd, examines and evaluates the impact of the event as well as its legacy.

It shows how the event put Leeds and the wider region under the global spotlight as 18.6m people in the UK followed the race on television or on other devices alongside a global audience.

The event’s worldwide appeal brought 113,000 overseas spectators to the UK who helped boost the UK economy by £33m.

Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The profile of Yorkshire around the world has never been higher and this will have a lasting impact on visitor numbers and businesses.”

Stage one saw the likes of Mark Cavendish ride from Leeds to Harrogate via the Dales, before the York to Sheffield stage two and Cambridge to London third stage. The Grand Depart’s £27m budget comprised of £10m from Central Government, £11m from Yorkshire’s local authorities and £6m from Transport for London.

Sir Rodney Walker, former chair of Government firm TDFHUB2014 Ltd, suggested in October that the event “wouldn’t be far away” from coming in on budget. He said: “It was a great privilege to have been part of it.”

Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant added: “The Tour de France in the UK was an incredible success.”