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Tour of Britain boosted Northumberland’s economy by almost £4m

The Tour of Britain cycle race which blazed through Northumberland in September has boosted the county’s economy by almost £4 million, 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.

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 over 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 that the arrangements went so well.”

The race featured  20 teams, with 120 riders from 24 different countries taking part.

The event provided a huge opportunity to shine the international spotlight on the beauty of the county.  International broadcasts of the race reached more than 150  countries including  North America,  Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and reached 12 million viewers across Europe  including the cycling powerhouse countries of France, Italy and Belgium.

Councillor 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.”

Stage two of the Tour, set off from  Kielder and finished in Blyth passing through 28 communities and covering over 200 kms. Many shops, cafes, bars, hotels and restaurants along the route  reported brisk business on the day.

Jackie Sewell from Tomlinsons Cafe 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.”

Economic Impact Highlights
  • The Tour boosted the Northumberland  economy by £3.891 million.
  • 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.
  • An impressive 62 per cent said the day inspired them to take up cycling, or cycle more often in the future.

View the full article at Northumberland County Council

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The questions are: exactly how much public money was used to gain this estimated boost, and what could have been achieved if this money had been used in a more phased and considered way? Five minutes of fame might not bring too much business to the places that really need it.

Politicos have a poor record of spending wisely, and they often can't resist the temptation to do things which they think will gain them maximum votes. This is simply an observation and not a specific criticism, but I do think this sort of thing needs a little more justification than we actually get. The chief problem we've had in our area is one party rule stifling proper accountability. Maybe times are changing, and I sure hope so!

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