The Tour of Britain cycle race which blazed through Northumberland in September has boosted the county’s economy by almost £4million, an independent report has revealed.
The world-class cycling event saw an estimated 100,000 people lining the county’s roadsides, with many flocking in from around the region to cheer on the top sporting stars, including UK favourite Mark Cavendish.
Of the visitors who came to Northumberland, 31 per cent stayed overnight with an average spend in the county of nearly £135 per group. Day visitors spent an average of £52 per group.
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson, said: “The financial boost to local businesses from the Tour was quite remarkable. For every pound invested, we saw more than 10 times the return in the local economy and it was great to see the event so well supported within the county.
“Not only did our county council provide the main financial support to hold this stage of the race in Northumberland, but our staff throughout the county did a brilliant job to make sure the arrangements went so well.”
The race featured 20 teams, with 120 riders from 24 different countries taking part. It was aired on TV and international broadcasts of the race reached more than 150 countries including North America, Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and reached 12million viewers across Europe, including the cycling powerhouse countries of France, Italy and Belgium.
Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member with responsibility for culture, arts, leisure and tourism, said: “The route showcased some of the most iconic and stunning scenery and landmarks in the county to an international audience. It put the county well and truly in the spotlight and I am sure this will inspire more people to visit the county in the future.”
Northumberland held Stage Two of the Tour on Monday, September 4, starting at Kielder and finishing in Blyth, passing through 28 communities and covering more than 200km. Many shops, cafés, bars, hotels and restaurants along the route reported brisk business on the day.
Jackie Sewell, from Tomlinson’s Café and Bunkhouse, in Rothbury, said: “The Tour of Britain was an outstanding success for local businesses, local people and visitors.
“Rothbury was a shining example of bringing the community together and the streets were packed with excited crowds. A day of events from best dressed bike painting; shop window dressing, face painting and local entertainers and local market stalls provided a real festival feel.”