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Welcome to Yorkshire aims to boost domestic cycle tourism as COVID-19 puts brakes on foreign visitors

Second wave of Cycle England funding also sees Cumbria and Northumberland join in initiative initially aimed at attracting Dutch and German visitors

Welcome to Yorkshire is hoping to boost the number of cycle tourists visiting the region from other parts of the UK next year after the tourism and business investment agency secured a second round of funding from VisitEngland for its Cycle England project.

The initiative was originally launched in 2018 in partnership with Visit Lincolnshire to target Dutch and German holidaymakers in particular, with 21 holiday products initially made available through 12 international tour operators.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and its ongoing impact on foreign tourism have unsurprisingly led to a rethink of the project, which will now see the launch of a digital marketing campaign aimed at cyclists in the UK, as well as improvements to the Cycle England website.

Cumbria Tourism and Visit Northumberland have also now signed up to the initiative as the second wave of funding comes on stream.

James Mason, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, commented: “The Cycle England project has got off to a great start and this VisitEngland funding will allow it to go from strength to strength.

“The world has changed a lot since the start of the year and that’s why we’ve been adaptable with our Cycle England offer, switching focus to the domestic market for the immediate future to entice cyclists from other parts of the country to give our world-class roads and trails a go, when we do eventually emerge from this hugely challenging period.

“Obviously, we want foreign cycling tourists to keep Yorkshire on their bucket lists as well, and this funding will allow us to develop a product which makes it easier than ever to plan, tailor and book cycling holidays here, no matter where our visitors are from.”

Andrew Stokes, director of VisitEngland, said: “This funding will help keep England's tourism products and experiences front-of-mind for domestic and international travellers and support local businesses who have been working so hard to welcome visitors back safely, adapting and innovating to meet new ways of working and still providing a great visitor experience.

“Now in its fifth year the Discover England Fund is all about embedding our fantastic tourism products and reaching new audiences to drive future visitor growth and boost local economies."

Under its former head, Sir Gary Verity, Welcome to Yorkshire attracted the two biggest events in road cycling to the region – in 2014, the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, and last year’s UCI Road Cycling World Championships.

Since 2015, it has also hosted the Tour de Yorkshire, now spanning four days and organised in partnership with Tour de France organisers ASO and British Cycling. This year’s event was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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