Tourists race to Yorkshire after Tour de France - figures show

15 May 2014....The Bank View Cafe at Langsett near Sheffield is visible from miles around as owner Pete Sparks painted it white with red spots to welcome Le Grand Depart to Yorkshire. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1003/26a
15 May 2014....The Bank View Cafe at Langsett near Sheffield is visible from miles around as owner Pete Sparks painted it white with red spots to welcome Le Grand Depart to Yorkshire. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1003/26a
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Tourism spending in Yorkshire has risen by almost 50 per cent since the Tour de France visited last year, new figures say.

Visit England statistics show £380 million was spent on tourism in the last year in Yorkshire – a rise of 45 per cent – while 2.3m people visited the region, an increase of 23 per cent.

The Grand Départ – the opening stages of the world famous cycle race – visited Sheffield on July 6, 2014, and brought 380,000 spectators on that day alone.

Gary Verity, chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire, the county’s official tourism agency, said: “We knew that once we showcased Yorkshire to the world, we would inspire potential visitors to come and see this beautiful county for themselves.”

But Pete Sparks, owner of Bank View Café in Langsett, is one of those reaping the benefits.

He said he has noticed a visible increase in tourism since the Tour route passed through.

Pete, who painted the café white with red spots to mimic the King of the Mountain jersey of the Tour, said: “We have seen a 30 per cent or 40 per cent increase, so it has been a business changer for us.

“It started getting busier the Febuary before the Tour, reached a crescendo at the race and since then interest has been maintained.

“We are seeing more visitors to this area which is fantastic, because a lot of people didn’t think of coming this way, they always went to Hope Valley.”

The figures showed 5.3m people stayed overnight in Yorkshire in the last year, a jump of 18 per cent.

Michael Skehan, of the Leopold Hotel in Sheffield city centre, said: “We’ve certainly seen an increase in visitors this year. There has been an increase both midweek and at weekends.”

Sheffield Council has installed stone markers at the beginning and end of the 22-mile route the Tour took through the city and is planning to repaint themed phrases on four hill climbs to create a tourist attraction.

Coun Isobel Bowler said the race had ‘put Sheffield on the international map.’

She said: “The Tour gave us an opportunity to showcase the city and promote it as a tourism and investment destination.

“The race was televised to more than 180 countries and has certainly helped reinforce positive perceptions of the city.”