Build up to Tour de France events in Yorkshire continue

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

The build up to the Tour de France begins next month, when more details of the once-in-a-lifetime event will be revealed to people and businesses living along the route.

Following the euphoria of January’s annnouncement of the tour route, businesses, community groups and councils are being asked to start preparing for how they will make the most of the area’s high profile.

Tourism group Welcome to Yorkshire is holding a number of roadshows across the county, and come to Haworth on Monday, April 22. This will be followed by similar events in Ilkley and Skipton in May.

The events will let businesses know what they can do to make the most of next June’s event, which will also pass through these three areas as well as Keighley, Oxenhope, Silsden and Stanbury.

It will also reveal more detailed plans for the 100 day cultural festival that will precede the race, and encourage towns and villages to think about how they could tie their annual summer events in with it.

Over 1,000 people from the area have volunteered to become “Le Tourmakers,” and hotels and B&Bs have already reported increased in business for next summer.

Coun Susan Hinchliffe, portfolio holder for tourism at the council, said: "We're really pleased that the Tour de France is passing through the district, not just once but twice. We know from other places where the Tour has passed through, that the economic benefits can be significant. These workshops are a good opportunity for businesses and other local organisations to start to understand the opportunities and to be ready to make the most of them in 2014.”

Bradford Council will reveal the extent it thinks the Tour will benefit the local economy next week. Keighley councillor Kaneez Akthar will ask the question at a full council meeting in City Hall on Tuesday, and Coun Hinchliffe said the question will be answered. Bradford Council invested £400,000 in Welcome to Yorkshire’s bid for the county to host the “Grande Depart” of next year’s race.

Haworth B&B owner Mike Hutchinson says people have already booked rooms for the Tour, and feels it is the perfect opportunity for Haworth to show itself off for something other than the Bronte sisters.

He said: “Haworth is already famous throughout the world, but this might put us on the map for something else. It can only do good for the local area. It will cost a lot of money, but it will bring a lot of money into the economy too.”

The event in Haworth runs from 2pm to 4pm in the Old Hall Inn on Sun Street. The Ilkley meeting is at The Craiglands Hotel on May 8 between 10am and noon, and the Skipton meeting is at the Rendezvous Hotel on May 9 from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. To register, visit Yorkshire.com.

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