Public awareness of Dales boosted by Tour de France

CRAVEN and the Dales are set to benefit from a boost in public awareness of Yorkshire following the biggest Grand Depart in the history of the Tour de France.

More than a third of the UK’s population had their opinions on Yorkshire positively changed thanks to the Grand Départ, with a quarter now wanting to visit the county, according to a new ResearchBods study.

It also showed that three quarters of the county want tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire – who led the winning bid – to bid for more sporting events to be held within the county.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s official Grand Départ website also saw a high amount of international traffic during July 5 and July 6, further promoting the county to the world.

The website had 2.5 million page views during the weekend which included visitors from 190 countries with exceptionally large traffic from Australia, USA, France, Canada and the Netherlands.

Since its launch in January 2013, the site has attracted 17.5 million page views.

Twitter played a key role too with a combined reach of tweets during the weekend of 23.2 million accounts.

And broadcasters were delighted too – British Eurosport posted a huge 60 per cent rise in average live audience for the Grand Départ compared to 2013.

Event organisers the ASO, riders, teams and media were amazed by the crowds they witnessed during the Yorkshire Grand Départ. Bernard Hinault, a five time winner of the Tour, said he had never seen crowds as big in over 40 years in the sport while Christian Prudhomme, director of Le Tour, said that he believed there could have been up to four or five million spectators over the two days.

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The passion, the crowds and the support that Yorkshire demonstrated for the Tour to the watching world were mind-blowing. The economic benefit to the county is being conservatively estimated to be in excess of £100m, but could well be more after what we all witnessed and these early research results too.

"Whatever the final figure, it was the images of Yorkshire and its amazing landscapes being beamed around the world which will prove priceless in the months and years ahead for our county."

He added it was the start and not the end of a journey for Yorkshire.

“The Yorkshire Grand Départ was a game changer and we’re only just scratching the surface of the enormous potential that our county has as we continue on our way towards being a global must-see destination.”

A new international, world-class cycle race is now being planned for the county, dubbed the Tour of Yorkshire – which will see three days of racing delivered by Welcome to Yorkshire, ASO and British Cycling from May 1-3, 2015. An application to the UCI is currently being considered.

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