Hotels across Harrogate are already getting ‘booked out’ by visitors who want to watch as one the biggest international cycling events lands in town.
The UCI Road World Championships is expected to see cycling races in all corners of the district when it arrives in September 2019.
But while the event is exactly a year away, keen visitors and participants in the races are said to have already nearly ‘booked out’ Harrogate’s hotels.
Richard Spencer, Chief Executive of Visit Harrogate said: “The whole of the tourism supply chain is very excited about next year and those nine days.
“We are going to be and already are getting booked out across the town’s hotels and that’s always a good indication of the vitality of an event, but we have to accept that a lot of our hotels will be looking after the media, the race officials and governing bodies and the cycling teams because certain hotels have the facilities to do all that.”
He added: “Apparently already we are having to go outside of Harrogate because we are so busy here. That’s a good problem to have and that’s just to entertain the participants in the event.”
Addressing rumours that residents have been asked by estate agents if they would consider renting out their houses at the time of the event, Mr Spencer said he thought it was another entrepreneurial opportunity for local people.
He said: “If we have no accomodation left and people are willing to rent out their houses then great.
“Certainly at times of big events, areas around Wembley and places like that do it, it’s not unheard of.
“It just means there are additional entrepreneurial opportunities for local people.”
Since it was first announced that Harrogate would host the UCI, the excitement has built ready for the full routes, which will be revealed next Wednesday night.
But this isn’t the first time Harrogate has boasted an international cycling event.
Mr Spencer said: “At the Grand Depart, it was one day, it was a huge celebration and everyone took to the streets to enjoy it, but this is what’s different - that was a single day, this is a tour.
“They land for nine days and there are start and finish points all around the borough of Harrogate, this will embed itself into the whole economy.
“The full details will come out soon but we have a number of areas within the district where the races start from. This isn’t just about Harrogate, this is about the whole district.”
Emphasising the scale of the event, Mr Spencer said the UCI Championships are an opportunity for Harrogate’s tourism industry to thrive for the whole year.
He said: “I want us to see our restaurants and bars full up, our shops and cafes busy with all the seats filled and hotels fully booked.
“I want to see these people having a great time in Harrogate and encouraging them to stay for as long as possible.
“We will have the spotlight of the world.
“For us this is a great opportunity for the whole of 2019 - yes it’s a big party on these nine days but let’s say to these visitors come after or come even sooner, we have big events in Harrogate, across the whole calendar.”