Craven area set to benefit from Tour success

Craven area set to benefit from Tour success

Tour De France at Kidstones Pass

Tour De France passes through Craven

Crowds greeting the riders

Tour De France at Kidstones Pass

Yellow sheep at Kettlewell

Sharon Hudson and colleague Bruce Dinsmore at a pre-Tour event in Skipton

First published in Dales Life by

The first analyses of the Tour de France’s impact on Craven suggest the event was a massive success, though some of the effects were mixed, according to officials whose task it was to ensure all went smoothly when one of the world’s biggest sporting events came to the Dales. Stuart Thompson spoke to some of those most closely involved in the huge effort to get the district on its collective bike.

The first analyses of the Tour de France’s impact on Craven suggest the event was a massive success, though some of the effects were mixed, according to officials whose task it was to ensure all went smoothly when one of the world’s biggest sporting events came to the Dales. Stuart Thompson spoke to some of those most closely involved in the huge effort to get the district on its collective bike.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who was there on the biggest day in Craven's sporting history, but the Tour De France Grand Depart has been hailed as a massive success for the area.

And such was Craven's - and Yorkshire's - high profile on the weekend of the iconic race's first two stages that the economic impact is likely to be "very positive" for years to come.

So says Craven District Council's communications officer Sharon Hudson, who has been analysing the results of surveys sent out to 'hospitality and retail' businesses in the area. She was also part of the council team whose job it was to make sure the preparations for the event went smoothly.

Now, just weeks later, she says: "I felt so proud of the whole area - it looked so fantastic, especially on the television coverage. Skipton Castle looked amazing from the helicopter shots, for example - obviously an angle from which you never normally see it. The TV people even put shots in of MalhamCove, even though it wasn't on the route. Yorkshire was magnificent. And we think this is bound to entice more and more people to come and enjoy this beautiful area."

First indications from the council's survey are that the economic benefits of a huge number of spectators at the race were not necessarily spread around businesses as much as had been expected.

Anecdotally, says Sharon, it seems that while businesses on the route itself did very well, those off it did not get the increase in trade they expected.

"Thirty-five per cent of the businesses in the area said they were busier over the weekend, 35 per cent said they were quieter. But

all recognised that they were likely to reap long-term benefits from an increase in visitor numbers in the coming years."

On Grand Depart day itself Skipton got the number of spectators the council had been told to expect, but some outlying villages on the route did not get the anticipated numbers.

Sharon says: "It seems that people had heeded the messages put out about possible transport difficulties, and we were pleasantly surprised by the number that came by by bike or by public transport.

"This meant that people didn't necessarily materialise to fill pop-up camp sites or car parks on the day. But everyone seems to realise the long-term effects for the economic health of the area will be very good. For a small amount of investment the area was showcased wonderfully to the world, and already - again anecdotally - we are hearing that hotel and B&B bookings are up. It will be interesting to monitor the impact of the Tour over the next year."

Skipton Town Council also played a massive role in preparing the town for its big day, with employees putting out the barriers and marshalling the thousands of spectators on the High Street and the two hubs. The council's chief officer Dave Parker says:

QUOTE HERE

Craven District Council's chief executive Paul Shevlin said: "The Tour sold this area to the world so well - it was amazing. On the day, people were coming up to council people on the street just to say thanks for helping to put it on, which was fantastic. Everyone had a smile on their face. Everyone involved in putting it on did a superb job - but all the people of Craven and Yorkshire deserve thanks too. They embraced it so wholeheartedly in the run-up - the amount of work that people did to show off the area at its best was phenomenal."

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