Riding on the benefits of Tour for years to come

Le Tour Yorks. Whitby.
Le Tour Yorks. Whitby.

Whitby will feel the benefits of hosting part of the first-ever Tour de Yorkshire for years to come.

That is the message from tourism experts in the town who say the event a fortnight ago will have advertised the town and surrounding area all around the world.

Niall Carson from the Whitby and District Tourism Association said it might be too early to pinpoint the the benefits in terms of an increase in visitor numbers and pound signs.

But, he added, in the short term it had brought people and communities together and potential tourists will now be aware of what Whitby has to offer.

Hundreds of people lined the streets in Whitby town centre and houses and businesses along the approach into town welcomed riders with displays of bunting, flags and yellow and blue painted bikes.

In the villages in the Esk Valley, which provided some of the most challenging stages of the route, there were street parties and get togethers at village halls while schools held special events as well.

Mr Carson told the Gazette “It was a huge event and I gather it has been seen in 120 countries around the world which is absolutely fantastic for the whole of Yorkshire and will have done Whitby no harm whatsoever.

“The day was superb. I watched it right the way through and recognised the various locations and corners and drove around the route the day after to admire the decorations - every single village and Whitby seems to have got involved.

“In years to come people will come to Whitby and say we saw it on the bike race and it looked so fabulous with the beautiful scenery and we felt we had to come.

“Advertising like that will go on for years and years to come.”

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire County Council has said the event was a great success.

The inaugural race, brought about following the Tour de France Grand Depart last year saw 40 per cent of the race taking part in North Yorkshire, with 91 per cent of the race route on stage 1 on Friday 1 May in the county, 24 per cent of stage 2 and 4 per cent of stage 3.

John Weighell, leader of the county council said: “The benefits for our county will be long-felt.

“After the huge success of last year’s Tour de France, this year’s Tour de Yorkshire has once again shown North Yorkshire in all its beauty and variety with all the gains for the tourism economy that this is bound to bring.”

He paid tribute to staff from both his own and the borough council plus the teams of volunteers who “went well beyond the extra mile” to make the weekend so memorable and also that it went off safely and without incident.