last year the eyes of the world were on Yorkshire as it hosted the Tour de France and the latest figures show the region has enjoyed a bumper period for tourism.
The number of overseas visitors to the region, between January and September last year, went up by 12 per cent to 1.08 million and they spent a total of £465m. The strongest growth in visits came from Australia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and USA.
In the third quarter of the year there were 472,000 overseas visitors to Yorkshire - a new record for the July to September period and up by 19 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. A total of £230m was spent during this three-month period - a new spending record for the period in Yorkshire and up 1 per cent compared with the same time in 2013.
The county hosted the first two stages of the 2014 tour, with the world’s elite cyclists setting off from Leeds on the opening day of the event.
Yesterday tourism bosses at VisitBritain said the figures were proof the county’s Tour de France tourism legacy was starting to show.
Millions of spectators lined roads in Leeds and across the county for the Grand Depart with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prime Minister David Cameron among the high profile visitors. Villages, towns and cities along the route decorated homes, pubs and gardens with bunting and bicycles painted yellow.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain said: “Inbound tourism is one of Britain’s most successful export industries, generating jobs and growth across Britain.
“Yorkshire plays a valuable role in that success and the legacy of its excellent hosting of the Tour de France is clear to see.”
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, which led the winning bid to bring the Tour de France to the county said yesterday: “We know when visitors from around the world come to Yorkshire to see it for themselves they fall in love with the county, which in turn helps drive up repeat visits.”