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UCI Road World Championships fans spent £22.5 million in Harrogate

Economic impact assessment report shows massive economic boost to North Yorkshire town

Cycling fans who flocked to Harrogate for last September’s UCI Road World Championships spent a combined total of £22.5 million during their visit to in the North Yorkshire town, according to a new report.

The report, entitled The economic impact of Yorkshire 2019: Harrogate impact study findings and commissioned by Harrogate Borough Council from accountants Ernst & Young (EY), also found that teams and media spent £2.3 million in the district during the event.

With visitors spending a total of £6.3 million in Harrogate during a typical nine-day period, the gross value added to Harrogate’s economy through its hosting of the event was estimated by EY at £17.8 million.

EY says that an estimated 69,000 unique spectators travelled to the town for the championships, for a total attendance in Harrogate of 219,000 people across the event as a whole, with a total of 712,000 watching across the region as a whole.

Two in three spectators in Harrogate – 46,000 – came from outside the district, with 14,000 from elsewhere in Yorkshire, 20,000 from other parts of the UK and 12,000 from abroad.

They were roughly split between those who stayed overnight in Harrogate itself or made day trips, either travelling from home or from another base, accounting for 24,000 and 22,000 visitors respectively.

Accommodation, at £9.0 million, made up the single biggest component of visitors’ spending, with £5.9 million being spent on food and drink, £5.1 million on retail, tourism and other activities, and £2.5 million on transport.

18,000 visitors had never been to Harrogate before and more than 8 in 10, whether from the UK or abroad, said they were likely or very likely to recommend the district for a holiday and around three quarters saying they were likely to return.

And while local media has focused on criticism of the event by some residents and businesses, of people living there who watched the racing, just 7 per cent said they were highly dissatisfied with the event.

However, Harrogate Borough Council has made it clear that it does not intend to host any road cycling events in the near future.

> Harrogate says 'no thanks' to Tour de Yorkshire after Worlds experience

In November, with rows still rumbling on about damage to The Stray which hosted the fan zone at the worlds, council leader Richard Cooper said: “The council was asked some time ago by Welcome to Yorkshire about whether it would be interested in hosting any elements of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2020,” said Harrogate Borough Council leader, Richard Cooper.

“We declined the offer. I think people want a rest from big events for a while and that is what I want to give them.”

> Fresh row in Harrogate over UCI Road Worlds graffiti and bill to repair 'devastated' Stray

The EY study was based on data collated through more than 450 spectator interviews and questionnaires share with accredited media and teams, as well as information from the event organisers and the UCI.

Crowd size numbers were assessed independently from a range of sources including review of broadcast footage, fan zone entries and data from National Rail.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Cyclegirl2020 | 4 years ago

But how many of them will come back and do it again? I won't, after a few days of miserable weather, horrible tarmac and aggressive drivers. Much better places to ride or watch racing imo

racyrich | 4 years ago

No mention of the cost of putting on the events. The problem as ever is the disconnect between who pays for the events and who benefits from the tourist expenditure.
Typically the costs are borne by local councils and their agencies, so ultimately by local ratepayers. The benefits go to a few businesses. That may generate more VAT and corporation tax/income tax on increased profits/income, but that goes to central government. Who may or may not help funding.

kevvjj replied to racyrich | 4 years ago


So you are saying that Harrogate council benefited in no way from tens of thousands of tourists spending £22 million in their local area?


racyrich replied to kevvjj | 4 years ago

Well I certainly can't think of any revenue stream the council has that would have increased.  

Maybe car parking revenue.

HarrogateSpa | 4 years ago

I think local shops feel they missed out on everyday trade from regular customers, and didn't get much business from visitors. It didn't feel like a bonanza, and the weather didn't help.

On the other hand, the redwings are chuffed to bits about the state of West Park Stray. It's easier to find worms where it's all muddy, and because some of it is fenced off, they aren't disturbed by humans.

bigbiker101 replied to HarrogateSpa | 4 years ago
1 like

It was a self fulling prophecy fuelled by shop owners who were too lazy to be proactive about it, shop owners who embraced it made a lot of money, take Cold Bath Brewery or Starling cafe, Cold Bath even expanded next door to host events, a friend who works in the centre and didn’t drive in the first day as she was scared of the traffic, she drove every other day as she said the traffic was fine, even some friends I know who live up Harlow sprouted nonsense that taxi’s wouldn’t be able to get to them (which of course they did, including buses), unfortunately far too many people fell for Project Fear and added to their own misery, I say well done to all those business owners who embraced it and made significant money out of it, I have zero sympathy for the ones who hated it from the moment it was announced and never got behind it.

ktache replied to bigbiker101 | 4 years ago
1 like

I assume Betty's was proper happy about it all.

Organon | 4 years ago

Enough to pay for some grass seed and a rake, methinks.

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