TOURISM bosses in Yorkshire believe hosting the Tour de France this summer has already helped to boost visitor numbers to the region.
Welcome to Yorkshire saw an increase in tourists, the length of time people were staying and the amount of money they were spending in the months after it was announced that the world famous race’s Grand Départ will be coming to the region in July.
A spokesman said this could have helped play a part in the recent announcement that record number of overseas visitors have been coming to the UK.
Overseas residents made 32.89m visits to the UK in 2013 – a rise of six per cent on the 2012 total and higher than the previous record of 32.78m set in 2007.
The amount these foreign visitors spent last year rose 13 per cent to a record £20.99bn, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.
And tourism bosses in Yorkshire predict this year will be even more successful.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Since December 2012 when we announced our bid to bring the Tour de France to Yorkshire was successful, we’ve seen a major increase in Yorkshire’s global profile.
“Lonely Planet has named Yorkshire in the top three regions in the world to visit in 2014 and we’re in AOL’s global top 10 holiday destinations for 2014, and there’s more besides.
“This year promises to be Yorkshire’s year – the county will be beamed onto TV screens worldwide this July when the Grand Départ begins, which will help raise our global profile to new heights.”
The visits nationally included 12.78m for holiday purposes – a seven per cent rise on the 2012 figure – while the number of business trips rose seven per cent to 7.93m. The ONS figures also showed that UK residents made 58.03m visits abroad in 2013 – a rise of three per cent on 2012. The amount they spent on these trips overseas last year rose seven per cent to £34.67bn.
VisitBritain’s chief executive, Sandie Dawe, said: “Not only have we managed to surpass the £20bn barrier for the very first time (for annual overseas visitor spending), but we’ve broken records for holidaymakers and visitors from key growth markets such as China and South Korea.
“Our international tourists are starting to see and do more across the country, which tells us that our GREAT (UK-promoting advertising) campaign is not only working, but influencing travel too. Holiday figures are up across the whole of Britain. Every pound invested in our tourism marketing results in visitors spending £19 in this country. The financial benefits from inbound tourism are clear for everyone to see.”
Tourism minister Helen Grant added: “Overseas visitors spent more in Britain than ever before last year and that shows our tourism strategy is working. With nearly £21bn spent, it also demonstrates the significant contribution the tourism industry is making to the country’s economic recovery.
“We will continue to support the sector and promote Britain to the world as a great place to visit and do business with.”