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Tour of Britain proves a winning payday for Cumbrian Economy

January 7, 2014

Cumbria received a £4.1m economic boost though holding Stage Two of The Tour of Britain cycle race in September.

According to an independently-compiled analysis of the economic benefits of all eight stages of The Tour, Cumbrian businesses - including hotels, retailers and transport operators - all enjoyed the benefits of the first ever stage to be held entirely within the county.
The £4.13m economic benefit, compiled by data analysts Frontline on behalf of the event organisers SweetSpot, compares favourably with the £2.37m economic boost Cumbria enjoyed in 2012, when the stage started in Carlisle and finished in Blackpool.

The extra impact of holding both the start and finish in the county was clear, with the event growing in scale and attracting more people into the county. An estimated 70,000 spectators attended the event and nearly two-thirds of them (61%) came from outside the county to watch.

Other key findings in the Frontline analysis include:
-     The event attracted 47,282 day only visitors and 22,718 overnight visitors in total, with day visitors spending £89.04 per group per day and overnight visitors spending £138.59 per group per day on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, local travel, shopping and other activities
-     The £4.13m extra expenditure has supported an estimated 51.4 full time equivalent jobs.
-     Visitors reported having a good time. 89% said that they found it ‘very enjoyable’ while 78% said that they were ‘inspired to cycle more regularly’ as a result of their attendance.

An analysis of the value of the media coverage for Cumbria by sports marketing experts Repucom estimates that Cumbria and the Lakes received £1.7m worth of publicity. Eleven broadcasters aired the race to 166 countries around the world. The event was watched live by 1.56m people across Europe on Eurosport, and had an average reach of 435,000 British viewers live on ITV4. The ITV4 highlights programme later in the day was the most viewed of all the eight stages, with an average reach of 696,000 viewers. Blue Peter ran a parallel challenge event to further boost Cumbria’s profile.

Experts acknowledged the fantastic sporting spectacle, with ITV’s Tour of Britain highlights programme describing it as the “best ever” stage of The Tour of Britain. Sky Sports voted the sight of cyclists being greeted by “raucous support” from the crowds at the top of the 25% climb Honister Pass in ferocious wind and rain as one of the 10 most memorable cycling moments of 2013 – and was the only British cycling moment to make the list.

As declared: ‘’They really got it right with Stage Two of The Tour of Britain. …it was the ideal advert for road cycling in this country. Cycling’s not about sprinting down The Mall. It’s about having the freedom to get away from places like that. It’s also about the challenge and Honister Pass certainly offers that.’’

The stage was organised by Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot in partnership with Cumbria County Council, Lake District National Park Authority, Carlisle City Council and South Lakeland District Council. Cumbria Tourism were also closely involved to ensure the event had the maximum impact.

Key local sponsors included Britain's Energy Coast, using socio-economic funding from Sellafield Ltd, United Utilities, University of Cumbria and YHA. Other local sponsors also lent their backing in a team effort to ensure Cumbria built its reputation as a place where communities and local businesses really get behind the race. They included Booths, Dare2B, Telford Skoda, English Lakes Hotels, Windermere Lake Cruises, BikeSeven, Herdy, Palace Cycles, Design Works, H&H Reeds Printers and Scotby Cycles.

Cllr David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for economic development, said:
“The Tour of Britain did exactly what it needed to do from our perspective – it generated money for the local economy, gave people a memorable day, encouraged cycling in the county and raised Cumbria’s profile nationally and internationally. It was a team effort, with the delivery partners and sponsors all getting behind what turned out to be a magnificent sporting spectacle. We hope it will have a lasting legacy both through repeat visits and people feeling inspired to visit Cumbria having seen the images from the stage. We have formed a good relationship with The Tour of Britain and hope to be able to work with them to bring back the tour in future years.”

Lake District National Park Authority chief executive Richard Leafe said:
 “This was an amazing opportunity to showcase the Lake District’s world renowned landscape to a global audience. We were able to provide a spectacular backdrop for the Tour of Britain and promote outstanding opportunities for road cycling across our national park.
“Stage Two was the most gruelling in the tour’s history and we hope its success will encourage event organisers to return in future years. In the meantime, we want the focus on this hugely beneficial activity to continue – at all levels. Cycling is the ultimate green transport and a big boost to health and the environment.
“The Lake District and Cumbria offers epic challenging routes to quiet, back-lane pedalling. Tour of Britain has been the catalyst to get on our bikes!”

Cllr Colin Glover, Leader Carlisle City Council, said:
 “Once again the Tour of Britain has proved to be both a tremendous showcase for Carlisle and a real boost to the Cumbria economy. Carlisle City Council is proud to have played a part in delivering the ‘the best ever stage of the Tour of Britain’, prouder still to share our beautiful city centre with cycling super stars and a global audience.”

Cllr Graham Vincent, South Lakeland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health and Well Being, said:
 “We knew the Tour of Britain would be a real win-win for South Lakeland and Cumbria, but these figures truly are fantastic. They show that there were huge rewards for businesses, and the money they made will have been recycled within the local economy.
 “In Kendal we had 15,000 people lining the streets and it was clear that the race had inspired not just cyclists, but also people who would not usually ride a bike or take an interest in the sport. Any increase in cycling among local people can only help to improve their health and will also reduce congestion, benefiting the environment.”

Richard Greenwood, Cumbria Tourism’s Head of Policy & Research said:
 ‘’Hosting a full leg of The Tour Of Britain, in Cumbria provided us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our beautiful county, the UK’s Adventure Capital, both within the UK and internationally. As a cycling destination we have so much to offer, after all Cumbria, was made for cycling. A good deal of funding has been invested over the last two years to upgrade cycle routes and develop new opportunities across the national park thanks to GoLakes Travel. There is something for everybody, with country lanes, quiet back roads and lots of National Cycle Network routes to explore, as well as more challenging off road routes over high fells and mountains. To have cycling stars from around the world in the county for a full stage has brought significant benefits both in terms of visitor spending and the huge range of media coverage which is still being generated around the world.’’