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Tour de France tourist boom is proving right
Updated 8:43am Tuesday 1st July 2014 in News
The predicted tourist boom prompted by the Tour de France is right on track, say hoteliers, guest house owners and event organisers across the district.
From the heart of Bradford to the delights of the Dales the area has filled up with bookings either made well in advance or during a late surge of interest in the start of the world's most famous cycle race.
At the city centre Great Victoria Hotel, sales and marketing manager Daniel Greenwood said they had a boost in guest numbers for the coming weekend.
"We've definitely noticed a strengthening of bookings compared to last year, it's very encouraging," he said.
Events sales manager at the Midland Hotel, Kate Shepherd said there had been a sudden rush of late callers: "We've had a real influx of bookings just recently, she said.
And at the Bradford Hotel, formally the Hilton, events co-ordinator Ben Stickland described the coming weekend as "very busy" due to arriving cycling fans.
At the other end of the spectrum, camping and caravanning sites have been inundated and many such as Ilkley Rugby Club are already full.
But Ilkley town councillor Brian Websdale, who heads its Tour de France group, said there was still room for more visitors:
"It has certainly really picked up in the last week and some campsites such as the rugby club, are full.
"Hotels in the town have also seen an uptake although there are still some places with space, particularly the smaller independent campsites along the route. It's going to be great."
Keighley Cougars Rugby League club chairman Gary Fawcett said bookings had leapt last weekend.
"We're delighted. People have obviously thought - better get it done - and so we're now up to 300 campers which is just where we want to be," he said.
A Caravan and Camping Club spokesman said bookings in its sites along the routes were up by 300 per cent on the previous year.
In Haworth, Claire Collen at the Bridge House bed and breakfast on Bridgehouse Lane said they had been fully booked for a year in advance and other small guesthouses in the famous village told the same story.
Former television presenter Christa Ackroyd, who runs Brook House bed and breakfast at Ogden Water, said the Friday and Saturday nights had been booked from the moment the TdF route was announced, although she still had space on the Sunday.
"People can walk over the fields to Oxenhope to watch the race and it will be the best advert in the world for the drama of our West Yorkshire landscape," she said.
Across Yorkshire, Leeds Hotels and Venues Association says 90 per cent of rooms are booked and Hospitality Sheffield has 75 per cent of city centre rooms booked.
Destination Harrogate says the town is full to capacity and the York Hotelier’s Association only suggests ‘pockets of availability’.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "The feedback we are getting is that many places are fully booked or close to capacity due to the high demand and number of people we're expecting to watch Yorkshire's Grand Départ.
"However it's not too late for people still wanting to come, but the message is act fast.
"For some time, we've been encouraging everyone to plan ahead, pick their spot and arrive a day or two early to enjoy the race, the atmosphere and Yorkshire.
"There's a huge amount of information for spectators available on our website with everything from road closures and race timings to maps and places to eat, drink and stay.
"This will be a moment in history and a weekend people will never forget and Yorkshire is ready and waiting to welcome the world."