EXCITED cycling enthusiasts have already fully booked up Dales accommodation in anticipation for the Tour de France — nearly a year-and-a-half in advance.
The 2014 Grand Départ begins on July 5 in Leeds and will see cyclists sweep through 120 miles of idyllic Yorkshire countryside.
It is estimated that the county’s tourism industry will receive a £100 million boost throughout the two-day event but some hoteliers are already reaping the rewards.
Chris Taplin, manager of the Stonehouse Hotel in Hawes, said his 24-bedroom hotel had been fully booked within a week of the route announcement.
“We filled up very quickly - as soon as the route was announced the phone wouldn’t stop ringing.
“We were booked up within a week and now have a waiting list. We’re planning on making it a great weekend for all our guests,” he said.
He added that he expected other local accommodation to book up quickly.
Mr Taplin said that he believed the Dales needed an economic boost.
“There’s such a demand to see this great race that I imagine all forms of accommodation, from campsites, B&Bs to top hotels will be booked up very soon.
“Hopefully the global audience will see the fantastic scenery we have on offer here and it will give the Dales the long-term boost it needs.”
Rooms at the 52-bed Hawes Youth Hostel were snapped up within two weeks of the route announcement.
Manager Sarah Lorna said: “I was quite surprised by how fast they went but with the route coming so close to us I knew we would be fully booked sooner or later.
“I think most of the guests will be cyclists, looking to get out and about in the Dales after the riders go by.”
The Wensleydale House B&B, in the centre of Hawes, has also reported an increase in booking inquiries.
Wayne Webster, who runs the B&B with wife Jan, said: “We have one room booked up and inquiries in for the rest.
“Our hotel is right on the route, you could probably watch them fly by from the comfort of our living room.”