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Why Yorkshire Deserves a Tour
April 27, 2018Article by Paul Avery
The fourth annual Tour de Yorkshire kicks off next week, offering another showcase of the natural beauty and quirky charm of God’s own country, as well as a sporting spectacle that gets bigger every year.
Now an institution of the cycling calendar, the race began after the enormous success of 2014’s Grand Départ of the Tour de France, which took place in Yorkshire. Last year’s event generated £64 million for the local economy and was viewed by 9.7 million people around the world (Darlington & Stockton Times). This year spectators will be lining gruelling routes from Beverley to Doncaster, Barnsley to Ilkley, Richmond to Scarborough, and Halifax to Leeds, in a newly extended four-day race.
The Tour de Yorkshire is a symbol of the area’s cultural renaissance: a fresh injection of domestic and international attention, evenly spread across the county’s richly varied assets, and the product of endurance and hard work.
Regeneration spending is rife across Yorkshire, with its many layers of history (Viking through Medieval, Tudor, and the Industrial Revolution) being brought vividly back to public consciousness, and transport and infrastructure initiatives making its hidden treasures more accessible.
The county’s towns and cities are rebranding around their innate strengths: quality of life, proximity to nature, and offbeat trendiness (see: Halifax – ‘Shoreditch of the North’ (Telegraph)). But the star of the show is always that landscape – soul-stirring moors, dramatic beaches, and a lifetime’s worth of rugged trails.
This team effort is paying off. Tourism is now worth £8 billion to the Yorkshire economy – its highest level ever and a 14% increase on the previous full tally in 2011 (Sheffield Hallam University). The number of domestic overnight visits in 2017 was a full 15% higher than in 2016, with expenditure increasing by 8% as the county burnishes its staycation credentials (Visit Britain). Meanwhile, inbound (international) tourism is flourishing on a gentler incline (see chart).
By wheeling in global visitors and televising the stunning scenery and welcoming locals, this year’s Tour de Yorkshire sets the stage for another triumphant year.
(Source: Visit Britain. 2017 projection based upon complete data for Q1-Q3, plus Q4 2016 figure)