Report finds the Grand Depart paid the economy back in spades

Tour de France earned £130 million for the UK

It had a budget of £27m – admittedly supplemented by thousands of unpaid volunteers – but the UK Grand Depart of 2014’s Tour de France earned the nation far in excess of that total.

According to the economic evaluation report published today, the Grand Depart earned £130 million. And that’s just for starters, with Welcome to Yorkshire’s CEO Gary Verity (pictured) believing the total will rise over the coming months and years after Le Tour boosted Yorkshire’s tourism cache.

At the media launch this morning, Verity backed the official stats with numerous anecdotal reports from local businesses that have benefited, including local hotels having forward bookings for next year up 30% and even an ice cream vendor who sold almost a year’s worth of ice creams in eight hours during the stages (he must have had a big freezer). 

Back to the official stats: The Tour generated more than £102 million for Yorkshire and £30 million for Cambridgeshire, Essex and London. The expected overall economic benefit figure is expected to rise to in excess of £150 million as a result of that increased tourism profile.

The Grand Depart was watched at the roadside by crowds of 4.8million. That total has been questioned by some cynical commentators, but the figure includes those that watched the event at multiple locations on different stages. The stats say that a total of 3.5 million individuals watched – 2.3 million in Yorkshire and 1.3 million on stage three, with around 600,000 in London.

Further statatistics include: 

  • The race was watched in person by approximately one in four people in the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber region
  • The event attracted 113,000 visitors from outside the UK, generating £33m into the UK economy
  • The Tour provided £24.3m benefit to the accommodation sector in the host areas
  • 18.6million people followed the race on television or on other devices in the UK
  • 92 per cent of spectators who watched the Yorkshire stages felt the Tour had been positive for the region, as well as 79% of those who attended stage 3
  • The Yorkshire Festival 2014, the first of its kind, saw more than 800,000 people attend more than 2,000 performances of arts and culture in the 100 days leading up to the Grand Départ
  • The official website received two million visits during the week of the Tour starting, with over eight million page views.

Here’s a round of media quotes from some of the many organisations that worked together to put the Grand Depart on:

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield 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.”

Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity said:

“We’re absolutely delighted the event brought so much money to the county to help businesses big and small, and there are benefits for the county which are impossible to measure – the profile of Yorkshire around the world has never been higher and this will have a lasting impact on visitor numbers and businesses for years and years to come."

Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant said:

“The Tour de France in the UK was an incredible success and once again showcased how well we put on major sporting events in this country. It was fantastic to see such huge crowds supporting the race in Yorkshire, Cambridge, Essex and London. It showed the passion Britain has for cycling and will have inspired many to take up the sport as well as giving a significant economic boost to the host regions.” 

Chief Executive of UK Sport Liz Nicholl said:

“The Tour de France this year showcased the UK‘s event hosting capabilities and passionate sports fans at their best. Through our National Lottery funded Gold Event Series, the nation will continue to benefit from the many impacts of hosting major sporting events on home soil.”

Chair of TdFHUB2014 Ltd Sir Rodney Walker said:

“The three opening stages of the 2014 Tour de France confirmed the UK’s reputation for staging world-class sporting events with a world-class level of organisational flair. It was a great privilege to have been part of it.”

Commissioner of Transport for London Sir Peter HendyCBE said:

“The Tour de France was a fantastic opportunity for Londoners to experience the excitement of elite cyclists racing through iconic London streets. And they didn’t disappoint; 600,000 people lined London streets and filled our fan parks to enjoy the spectacle – on a work day!

“Hosting the Tour helped support The Mayor of London and TfL’s objective to encourage more people to cycle more safely, more often. This year’s Tour will cement the legacy of sport and cycling participation we continue to see from the London 2012 Games and the 2007 London Grand Départ.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

“The Tour in London was the most fantastic spectacle of sport, which delighted and entertained crowds across the capital. People packed the streets for a glimpse of the yellow jersey, as the peloton zoomed past at astonishing speed. The economic benefit of hosting such prestigious sporting events is clear, with images of our brilliant city beamed around the world – encouraging wider tourism and investment.”

President of British Cycling Bob Howden said:

“The three UK stages set a new standard not just in terms of the amazing support but also because it inspired so many people, young and old, to get on their bikes.”

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