IT took four years to plan and was over in a matter of hours – but North Yorkshire will continue to reap the rewards from the Tour de France for a long time, claim councillors and tourism chiefs.
An estimated 2.5 million people took to the streets and roads of the county at the weekend for the Grand Départ of the world’s most famous cycling race.
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Welcome to Yorkshire, the body which masterminded the bid that beat off competition from Barcelona, Edinburgh and Florence, expected a £100m boost for the county’s tourism industry as a result.
“Our beautiful county has done itself proud once again,” said chief executive Gary Verity.
“Undoubtedly it will give a huge boost to the Yorkshire economy but it is the images of Yorkshire people, Yorkshire pride and Yorkshire’s out-standing landscapes beamed around the world which have been simply priceless.”
Coun John Blackie, leader of Richmondshire District Council and the Hawes member on the North Yorkshire County Council, described the event as ‘absolutely phenomenal’.
“Massive doesn’t describe it,” he said. “It is a boost to the self-esteem and pride of the com-munities and the many many businesses who had a lottery-like windfall over the course of three days.”
He added: “The people who came were the nicest people one can ever imagine.”
North Yorkshire County Council leader John Weighell said: “This was quite simply a fantastic event, of huge importance not only in terms of spectator enjoyment at the weekend but even more significantly in terms of the image of our county which was presented to a global television audience of millions.”
He added: “North Yorkshire looked fabulous and there can be no doubt that our vitally important tourism economy will reap huge rewards from this amazing promotion.”
He also paid tribute to the local people whose enthusiasm and commitment ensured the success of the event – and to the staff of district, borough and county councils who ‘went well beyond the extra mile’ to make the weekend so memorable.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of spectators along the route who respected the countryside, and enjoyed themselves without creating problems like litter, or damage to property,” he added.