YORKSHIRE and Craven are set to benefit from a huge economic boost thanks to hosting the Tour de France's Grand Depart in the summer.

The county, which hosted the first two stages of the world-famous cycling race in July, benefited to the tune of £102 million, according to a report released by the race organisers.

And Yorkshire looks all set to benefit by £24 million in the future with a predicted increase in visitors directly attributable to coverage of the race over the next two years, says the report.

Much of the cash generated in Yorkshire was down to increased business for hotels, pubs and restaurants, food and drink sales on or near the route and souvenir and clothing sales.

Seventy-five per cent of first-time visitors to Yorkshire who came to see the Tour said they would said they would come again, while 72 per cent thought the image of the county had been enhanced.

And the 100-day Yorkshire Festival in the build-up to the Tour attracted 816,000 people to 2,225 performances and contributed £7.5m to Yorkshire’s economy.

The report reveals that in total 2.3m people watched the two Yorkshire stages of the Grand Départ. While many were locals embracing a once-in-a-lifetime event, almost half came into the region from other parts of the UK or overseas.

A survey showed that among residents who watched the Yorkshire stages 92 per cent strongly agreed that the event had been good for their area. The report was produced by Welcome To Yorkshire and other national bodies involved with the organisation. One of the case studies highlighted in the report is Kettlewell Village Store. Before the race owner Doug McLellan was expecting a loss in trade because of road closures, but found quite the opposite.

He said: "By the time we normally would have opened at 8.15am we had just about sold all our supply. We closed the shop for the duration of the race and after the race had passed it was back to the shop for a very busy afternoon. There were six people working instead of the usual two, yet we had a queue all afternoon. Sunday morning was just as busy as all those who were camping locally came for their breakfast sandwiches.”

The Tour was the biggest-ever sporting event to be hosted in Craven, and the area was handsomely showcased to a worldwide television audience. And the knock-on financial boost is likely to be very significant, say Craven District Council chiefs.

Cllr Simon Myers, who was the council's 'lead member' for the Tour, said it had been a 'pivotal event' for Craven.

He said: "The report confirms what a huge success the weekend especially to those working in tourism, hospitality and cycling. The research highlights that the majority of businesses surveyed felt that tourism had been given a real boost for the future and enhanced the image for future marketing campaigns. Herein Craven we saw a huge jump in footfall in both Skipton Tourist Information Centre and our Museum and Gallery for both June and July which we attribute to the Tour de France effect.”