Sheffield is set for a tourism boom as the Tour de France heads to South Yorkshire – with up to £10 million of extra trade expected.
Hotels are expected to be full and the media circus, huge crowds and teams themselves are expected to spend, spend, spend while in Sheffield for a stage of the Grand Depart in July next year.
The cost of hosting part of the race – one of the biggest events in world sport – involves £2 million of public money.
Some £530,000 will come from the Government, while resurfacing of roads for the race will cost £600,000 - to come from the £2 billion Streets Ahead project.
Sheffield Council is to contribute £900,000 from its reserves.
Council officials said that, based on when the Grand Depart was held in the South East of England in 2007, the regional economic benefit was £88 million, plus £35 million in marketing exposure.
Sheffield’s economic benefit is expected to be £10 million, plus £5 million of marketing exposure.
Gary Clifton, council events manager, said hotels are already experiencing a boom and are likely to sell out.
Hermann Beck, owner of the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria in the city centre, said: “The biggest beneficiary will be the city as a whole – not only hotels, but restaurants, bars, taxis, public transport and shops will all receive extra trade.”
Crowds equivalent to almost half of Sheffield’s entire population are expected to line the route of the Tour de France Grand Depart.
Preparations are being made to accommodate up to 250,000 people at the roadside as the race passes through the city on Sunday, July 6, next year, to finish at the Motorpoint Arena.
The York to Sheffield stage of the race will come into Sheffield through Bradfield, across to Oughtibridge and Grenoside, then down to Kelham Island.
Cyclists will then head back out before a final stage up the challenging Jenkin Hill, at Wincobank, then loop back to the arena.
The proposed route - set to be confirmed by organisers later this month - has been changed to avoid the Northern General Hospital due to concerns about the impact on ambulance access arrangements.
Gary Clifton, Sheffield Council’s major events manager, said: “Arrangements will be made for spectators, including designated viewing areas on some parts of the route.”
He added: “We are looking to see if we can organise camp sites and work with the universities to see if any of their accommodation could be available.”
The race will mean rolling road closures of up to four hours - but around the finish, at the arena, roads are likely to be shut for 24 hours.
Sheffield Council is also hoping to secure a share of £1 million of Arts Council funding for a series of cultural events involving schools and community groups as part of a national 100-day cultural festival before the tour.
Officials are also planning ‘legacy events’ where cyclists will be able to ride parts of the route through Sheffield.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “The impact on hotels and hospitality will be great but they don’t have a lasting effect.
“We would like the council to examine ways to ensure the tour provides a long-term boost for the city, too.”