Tuesday 17 February 2015

A detailed economic study following last year’s Tour de France has shown that the benefits to Sheffield topped even the most optimistic projections.

When Sheffield was chosen to host the Stage 2 finish of the Grand Depart two years ago, the estimated income for Sheffield hosting the event was expected to be between £5-10 million.

An independent economic impact survey into last year’s Tour de France has shown that the direct economic benefit to Sheffield was estimated at least £11 million. This was the money spent mainly on accommodation, food and drink, souvenirs and clothing, shopping, cycling shops, transport and supplies to event organisers.

Welcome to Yorkshire and TdFHUB2014 Ltd commissioned the survey that showed the economic benefits to Sheffield from hosting the Grand Depart on 5-6 July last year.

There were also massive extra benefits from the event, which showcased the city to people in 180 countries worldwide. The race through Yorkshire was watched on TV by a total of 18.6 million adults and the final part of Stage 2 peaked at over 4 million viewers – the highest figure of the first two stages.

The survey estimated that one and a half million spectators watched the York to Sheffield second stage of the race and 380,000 people lined the 22 mile route through Sheffield.

Around 38 per cent of the local spectators were from Sheffield and 18 per cent were from the rest of Yorkshire, with 42 per cent from other parts of the UK and 2 per cent from overseas.

Nearly two thirds of the visitors to Yorkshire said they would return within the next two years and this would add another £24 million to the region’s economy or £3.4 million into Sheffield.

Three quarters of the Sheffield spectators said that they would recommend the area to family and friends and 60 per cent of the visitors said they would be returning for a short break or holiday

The Yorkshire Festival that covered the 100 days leading up to the Grand Depart attracted 816,000 people to 2,225 performances, workshops and exhibitions – bringing an estimated £7.5 million into the county’s economy and £3.8 million into Sheffield.

The figures in the study are believed to be on the conservative side and do not allow for the benefits gained from future visitors and the inward investment that is yet to be seen. The overall benefits from hosting the event are likely to be significantly higher.

The legacy left by the Tour was always seen as a key reason for hosting the event and the study shows that many people were inspired to cycle and be more active.

Around 63 per cent of spectators felt inspired to take part in sport more often after watching the race and 51 per cent of the spectators in Sheffield felt inspired to cycle more as a result of seeing the Tour. A quarter of those who had never ridden before said that they felt encouraged to cycle.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure commented: “The economic benefits to the city from last year’s Tour de France exceeded our most optimistic expectations and gave local businesses a welcome boost.

“The second stage of the Grand Depart was an amazing spectacle and will live long in many people’s memories. As the race organisers have said, it really was the grandest of Grand Departs. The 100 day cultural festival which preceded it was also an overwhelming success. The Tour brought significant economic benefits to the city and confirmed Sheffield’s position as a centre for major events and outdoor activities.

“We have already started building on the legacy left by the Tour – not just to encourage cycling in the city, but also profiling Sheffield as the leading city for outdoor activities in the UK. We know that a number of events and conferences are coming to the city as a direct result of our enhanced profile and this will continue to build on the economic benefits from being involved.”

The legacy from the Tour will continue well into the future. Half the spectators said they felt inspired to cycle more frequently and 28 per cent have increased their levels of cycling since July.

The spin-off effect of the Tour will spill over into other outdoor activities and 63 per cent of spectators felt inspired to cycle or do other sports. Sheffield will host the European Outdoor Industries Association Summit in 2015.

Leader of Sheffield City Council, Julie Dore said: “The Tour de France showed off Sheffield at its very best. It was a fantastic opportunity to welcome one of the world’s great international events to the city and will be remembered for many years to come.”


Notes for editors:

Several projects are already in hand to build on this enthusiasm and the massive boom in cycling in recent years to improve the quality of life in Sheffield and people’s general health.

The City Council is aiming to build on their investment in hosting this year’s prestigious event by using it as a platform to encourage more people to take to their bikes. The legacy plans will build on existing work with key partners such British Cycling, Cycle Yorkshire and Sheffield Cycle Boost.

There are significant economic, health and environmental benefits that an increase in cycling would bring to Sheffield. A number of innovative schemes are planned to improve the local infrastructure and make more use of the city’s green cycle routes. This would link into the existing cycle network, mainly along the main radial routes and also into the 20 mph zones.

By the end of March we will have completed at least 11 kilometres of new infrastructure this year – a mix of on-road and off-road cycle lanes, will have been built in the Upper Don Valley creating a complete route from the city centre to Oughtibridge, Blackburn valley extending from Ecclesfield to Chapeltown, and new cycle lanes on Abbeydale Road and Chesterfield Road

Among the initiatives already in place are the Cycle Boost scheme that allows more people to try cycling to work and free cycle training to increase confidence and safety on a bike. At the moment around two percent of people cycle to work and the aim is to double this by 2024. The intention is to increase the number of bike trips in the city to 10 percent by 2025 and to 25 percent by 2050.

Cycling will be made easier and safer and the local cycling provision will also be reviewed and improved, including cycle parking in key locations and ‘Bike Doctor’ sessions to help cyclists maintain their bikes.

Both Yorkshire stages of Tour de France route are now signed with special brown signs to help cycling enthusiasts try all or part of the route themselves and to celebrate the Tour visiting the region. Sheffield’s four King of the Mountain Climbs (Côte de Midhopestones, Côte de Bradfield, Côte d’Oughtibridge and the Côte de Wincobank) have also been sign posted to highlight the challenges this section of the route pose.

Funding has been secured to provide more bike hubs following the recent opening of the first at Sheffield Station. These provide secure storage, changing facilities, maintenance and repair, and bike hire. One of these would be located alongside the Olympic legacy National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine at the new Graves site.

A series of cycling events are being held and are in the pipeline this year, including festivals, challenges, organised rides and sportives. These will sustain and increase the profile of cycling in the city.

There was an impressive 80 per cent increase in the number of Sheffield residents cycling to work between 2001 and 2011 and cycling doubled in the city in the same period.