Tour brings in over £2m in trade

Tour of Britain 2015 riders make their way through Warkworth. Picture by Crest Photography.
Tour of Britain 2015 riders make their way through Warkworth. Picture by Crest Photography.

The organisation which runs the Aviva Tour of Britain has hailed the success of the Northumberland section of the race.

And the sponsor of the two stages in the county has added to the calls for it to return to Northumberland in 2017.

Figures from a new report by organiser SweetSpot show that the direct economic impact of hosting the prestigious cycling event in the county in September was £2.13million.

Stage four of the race from Edinburgh to Blyth went through towns and villages in the east and south east of Northumberland, including Cresswell, Ellington, Widdrington Village, Hadston, Alnwick, Warkworth, Amble, Choppington, Bedlington and Cramlington. The total number of spectators who watched the race in the county was 115,000. Of these, 21 per cent came from outside the North East region and 23 per cent stayed overnight.

SweetSpot’s commercial director, Alastair Grant, said: “The 2015 Northumberland stages have been a great success.

“We were delighted at the way the race was delivered and the way that residents and visitors really got behind the event.

“The atmosphere across the whole county was wonderful and so colourful and the towns and villages really made it a special event.”

Northumberland County Council, Active Northumberland and stage four and five sponsor Northumbrian Water worked with the race organiser to bring the event to the county.

The towns and villages that the riders went through were proudly decorated in Northumberland colours to mark the event – with hundreds of red and yellow bikes lining parts of the route and houses, shops and businesses adding to the colourful celebration with flowers, bunting and their own cycling art.

David Hall, head of leisure, strategy and transformation at Northumbrian Water, said: “People across the county gave fantastic support to the cyclists and the atmosphere over the two days was unique.

“Schools, community groups and businesses really went the extra mile to decorate their roads, shops, churches, schools and high streets in the Northumberland colours.

“It was a fabulous event and we all hope to see the Tour back here in 2017.”

Over the two days, the ITV4 audience average viewing figures for the Northumberland stages was more than 300,000. The audience for the Edinburgh to Blyth stage highlights was 519,000 – the highest figure for all of the eight stages.

Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at the county council, said: “Northumberland is an incredibly exciting destination for major sporting events and the legacy of a race like this is priceless.

“It inspires residents and visitors to get active and stay healthy by cycling, and it has promoted the county across the world as a fabulous place to visit.”