THE Bradford district is set to benefit from a boost in the public awareness of Yorkshire following the biggest Grand Départ in the history of the Tour de France.

More than a third of the UK’s population had their opinions on Yorkshire positively changed - thanks to the historic event, with a quarter now wanting to visit the county, according to the results of a ResearchBods study released today.

It also showed that three quarters of the county want tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, who led the winning bid, to go for more sporting events to be held within the county.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council's executive member for culture, said thousands of 'Discover Bradford' booklets had been given out at spectator hubs during the tour, with a poster campaign promoting the district going out across the North and the Midlands next week.

"Feedback and information is still coming in, but anecdotal information from our visitor centres tells us that there has been a big increase in visitor numbers, not just for the event itself, but for the week after the event," she said.

"Some of this is people who have decided to stay longer in the district, and some is local people who are now wanting to buy Tour de France souvenirs, which have really flown off the shelves.

"The whole of the Tour was one long advert for Yorkshire, it's the kind of advertising we could never hope to afford, so it's important we now capitalise on that and encourage people to come back for more."

Event organisers the ASO, riders, teams and media were "amazed" by the crowds they witnessed during the Yorkshire Grand Départ.

Bernard Hinault, a five time winner of the Tour, said he had never seen crowds as big in over 40 years in the sport, while Christian Prudhomme, director of Le Tour, said that he believed there could have been up to five million spectators over the two days.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s official Grand Départ website had 2.5 million page views from 190 countries during the race weekend, with exceptionally large traffic from Australia, USA, France, Canada and the Netherlands.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The passion, the crowds and the support that Yorkshire demonstrated for the Tour to the watching world were mind-blowing.

"The economic benefit to the county is being conservatively estimated to be in excess of £100m, but could well be more.

"Whatever the final figure, it was the images of Yorkshire and its amazing landscapes being beamed around the world which will prove priceless in the months and years ahead.

“This is the start of a journey for Yorkshire, not the end of one."

A new international cycle race is now being planned for the county, dubbed the Tour of Yorkshire, which could see three days of racing delivered by Welcome to Yorkshire, ASO and British Cycling from May 1 to 3, 2015.