Evaluation of the Aviva Women’s Cycling Tour in Warwickshire shows that the event provided a healthy boost to the local economy through increased visitors coming to watch the race pass through the county.
The race in June saw some of the world’s top female cyclists visit Warwickshire for Stage 2 of the tour which drew large crowds to the county, as well as a global TV audience.
The cyclists travelled the length of the county and spectators gathered along the route. Starting in Atherstone, the route went through North Warwickshire before taking in the campus of the University of Warwick, Kenilworth, Warwick town centre and Shipston-on-Stour, before finishing in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Warwickshire phase of the tour was attended by an estimated 75,000 people, with approximately 40,000 of them (53 per cent) coming from outside of the county. This provided a massive boost to Warwickshire’s tourism and catering industries; one in seven of these visitors (14 per cent) stayed overnight, with the average length of stay totalling 3.3 days.
Other Warwickshire businesses were able to share in the success of the event thanks to the high spending by groups of visitors at just under £40 per group each day. This saw a range of sectors benefit, such as the food and drink industry (gross spending by visitors of just over £2million); local shops and those offering souvenirs (gross spending of just over £740,000); hotels and other accommodation (just under £540,000) and local transport (just over £150,000).
Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for economic development, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, said:
“Playing host to Stage 2 of this high profile cycling tour brought great benefit to Warwickshire’s economy. It has been excellent for local businesses and offered a chance to showcase our county at its best. The huge numbers of visitors meant that many were able to take a share of the spoils that an event such as this provides. Of course, there are more than just economic benefits and I hope our residents have been inspired to get out and enjoy this fantastic sport.”
Cllr Philip Johnson, Chair of the Communities and Scrutiny Committee said:
“The great thing about this event was that a whole range of different businesses across the region were able to take advantage. In particular, our hotels, shops, pubs and transport companies were given a big boost. It’s important that we continue to secure events of this calibre into the future to build on this year’s success.”
Extensive media coverage of the race saw it draw the attention of the regional, national and international press. This placed Warwickshire centre-stage of a potential global viewing audience of 80 million homes worldwide, as well as drawing the attention of the regional and national press.
With discussions underway to bring the Women’s Cycle Tour back to Warwickshire in 2017, there are a number of ways businesses, big and small, can become involved and support the event. From specific asset packages to raising their profile through additional community activities the County Council have a number of ways companies can become part of this exciting international sports event.