The Tour of Britain delivered a £5.36m boost to Cumbria’s economy when the county last hosted a stage of the cycle race in 2016.
That total looks certain to be exceeded when the race – now branded the OVO Energy Tour of Britain – makes its eighth visit to Cumbria in September.
It will be the first time that two stages have been held within one county.
Thursday September 6 sees an uphill time trial from Cockermouth to Whinlatter. The following day cyclists set off from Barrow for a 105-mile stage through Ulverston, Coniston, Ambleside, Keswick, Whinlatter, Workington, Cockermouth and then back to Keswick and Whinlatter.
Cockermouth to Whinlatter, Thursday September 6
After the Tour came in 2016, the organisers commissioned independent research to assess the economic impact in Cumbria.
Data analysts Frontline calculated that the race delivered a £5.36m boost with hoteliers, retailers and transport operators all benefiting.
The findings included:
- The stage from Carlisle to Kendal attracted 175,000 spectators;
- 60% came from outside Cumbria and 34% of stayed overnight;
- The average spend of overnight visitors was £98 per group;
- 165m viewers watched television coverage of the Cumbria stage on ITV4, plus many more worldwide.
Live television coverage of the Tour of Britain is being expanded this year with ITV4 screening each stage in full as part of a six-hour daily programme.
Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “The fact that two stages of the race will be held entirely within Cumbria should ensure that the economic benefits are substantially greater this time.
Barrow to Whinlatter, Friday September 7
“It isn’t only businesses along the route that can profit from the race. The extensive TV coverage is effectively a free advertisement for Cumbria, which should lead to a sustained increase in visitor numbers.
“Yorkshire is still reaping the benefits of hosting a stage of the Tour de France in 2014. The Tour of Britain can have a similar positive impact.”
He added: “We want businesses to maximise the opportunities, so we have looked at best practice elsewhere to put together a toolkit.
“It’s important that businesses start planning now and have a strategy in place to make the most of this great opportunity.”
Toolkit: How businesses can benefit
Accommodation: As the race takes place on a Thursday and Friday, it is an ideal opportunity to promote an extended weekend break. Visitors may set off from your establishment early in the morning to secure a good viewpoint. Consider offering early breakfasts or at least a cold breakfast that can be pre-ordered. When spectators take their place at the roadside they will not move so takeaway lunches will be popular. There is likely to be demand for temporary campsites. Provided the land is not used for more than 28 days in a calendar year, planning permission is not required, and provided it is not used for more than 42 days consecutively, or 60 days in total in any consecutive 12 months, there is no need for a tent site licence.
Food and drink: The Tour of Britain will see thousands of spectators gathered along roads where there are usually few facilities. This is an opportunity for food and drink operators to create temporary or mobile outlets, as well as selling from their existing locations. Consider Tour of Britain themed products and whether you need to modify opening hours. If you’re not already a food and drink operator, and want to provide food, contact your district council’s environmental health department to discuss your proposals to see if you need to register as a food business. Pubs, restaurants and clubs with a TV can show live coverage and highlights programmes. This doesn’t need to be limited to the days the Tour is in Cumbria – it could boost business all week.
Retail: Engage staff and customers by creating a window display with a Tour of Britain theme, perhaps incorporating a bicycle. You could also run a competition or promotion themed around the tour.
Collaboration: Are there complementary businesses you could work with? For example, could you provide bicycle maintenance or hire for nearby hotels that cater for cyclists? Or could you offer evening meals or packed lunches for nearby accommodation, including campsites, that cannot offer their own?
Practicalities: Businesses on or near the route should plan accordingly. In general, Tour of Britain will operate rolling road closures but roads will be reopened shortly after cyclists and their support vehicles have passed through. There may also be parking restrictions and some side roads may close. Consider how staff and customers will get in and out, whether you need extra staff or need to modify opening hours or increase stock or orders to cater for additional demand. Businesses sending regular emails to customers can include factual information about the Tour of Britain as a secondary message. Use posters too to remind customers about the Tour.
Becoming cycle friendly: Consider if your business could be more cycle friendly. Accommodation providers, for example, can offer cleaning facilities for bikes and kit, install a bike rack, provide maps and information on cycle routes, offer complimentary water and sell emergency repair kits and bike pumps. Click here to view the Cumbria and the Lake District Cycle Tourism Toolkit and here to find out about VisitEngland’s Cyclists Welcome accreditation and here for Cumbria Tourism’s Quality Cumbria accreditation.
Web and social media: Think about the audience that might visit your website and anticipate the questions they might have. Include details of local facilities and any events for cyclists. If you are cycle friendly, make sure your website mentions this. A link to the Tour of Britain website will ensure your customers can access up to date information on the race, including spectator maps. Use social media to highlight what your business is doing around the Tour of Britain using the hashtag #OVOToB. Engage with @tourofbritain on Twitter.
Branding: The Tour of Britain logo can be used only by official sponsors, partners and in the media or event listings. It cannot be used to endorse products, services or specific businesses, or imply the endorsement of the organisers unless there is a sponsorship or other agreement in place.
Legacy: Do you want to promote a special offer to encourage spectators to return after the Tour of Britain? If so, decide what this will be now. You could offer goods branded with your logo to encourage customers to return. During the Tour, display posters promoting events later in the year to give people a reason to come back.
Corporate hospitality: Businesses that want to offer clients an opportunity to watch the race can book corporate hospitality packages at Barrow, Cockermouth and Whinlatter. Prices start at £30 per person plus VAT. More information here.© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce