Next year’s visit to Yorkshire by the world’s biggest cycling event starts to bring benefits
YORKSHIRE is going pedalling mad following the region’s successful bid to host the first stages of the 2014 Tour de France.
The Grand Départ is expected to bring an economic boost of at least £100 million to Yorkshire when it takes place in the region on July 5 and 6 next year.
Regional tourism body Welcome To Yorkshire says the figure is a conservative estimate and it has been encouraging individual businesses to do what they can to exploit the opportunities and legacy of the world’s largest annual sporting event for Yorkshire’s gain.
Not only is the Tour expected to attract two million spectators and 2,000 journalists from around world to line the route, it could mark Yorkshire out as a cycling-friendly region and encourage cyclists for years to come to follow in the tracks of the champions.
This offers a unique opportunity for Yorkshire businesses to get involved and Julie Hayes, business editor, has been getting some ideas from early adopters.
Top tips from Welcome To Yorkshire are:
• Prepare for foreign visitors – translate welcome messages on your website into various languages
• Prepare for more cyclists – think how to welcome them, can you provide secure cycle storage and drying areas, or could you sell bicycle repair kits and maps?
• Keep up to date – subscribe to the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014 enewsletter at letour.yorkshire.com/email-updates to be able to talk to customers in a knowledgeable way
• Be ready now to promote and take bookings for July 2014 and expect a spike in interest during this year’s Tour de France in July and when the final route for 2014 is announced in October
• Work with other local businesses, schools, groups and societies to create community events and atmosphere.
But, don’t be caught out!
Just like the Olympics, the name and branding of the Tour de France are strictly controlled by the organisers, the ASO.
This means businesses are banned from associating themselves with the Tour de France by using its name or logo.
While Welcome To Yorkshire are believed to be in discussions with the organisers over flexibility on their own branding of Yorkshire’s Grand Départ, there are things businesses can do easily and legally to associate themselves with the Tour de France hype.
Welcome to Yorkshire gives the following advice.
“Although you can’t use the Tour de France logo or the name Tour de France in promotional material, you can capture the spirit of the event and the excitement around it by bringing bicycles or cycling into what you do; incorporating a French theme or using the colour yellow (as in yellow jerseys).”
Welcome To Yorkshire has this year for example, changed its blue ‘Y’ lapel badges for yellow ones. York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership is also working with regulators and Welcome To Yorkshire on rules for businesses which want to hold pop-up stalls selling tea and coffee for spectators of the Grand Départ.
All kinds of businesses are starting get involved simply by adding a cycling theme to their existing product.
Web Adventure Park, based in Wigginton Road, York, has already started to apply this to their children’s market by developing a new area of the play centre devoted to toddler bikes.
Owner Janice Dunphy said: “We are creating a new area outside for the Grand Départ and will host events and races.”
Elsewhere, Ampleforth Abbey is hoping to build on its historic links with France to give it a business boost from the Grand Départ.
Peter Berry, PR and marketing executive for Ampleforth Abbey Trading, said the abbey hoped its story and dramatic position in Yorkshire’s landscape would draw in the world’s media and visitors.
“Welcome To Yorkshire is trying to get stories and links to anything with a French connection,” he said Ampleforth Abbey’s Benedictine monks were thrown out of England in the 16th Century during the Reformation and fled to France, where they set up monasteries and developed the process of making a strong, sparkling ale, known as “la bière anglaise”.
They were thrown out of France during the French Revolution and returned to set up Ampleforth Abbey in 1802. While the abbey has made cider over the years, it has not brewed the beer for hundreds of years until it decided to relaunch it last July as the first English abbey beer since the Reformation.
He said: “There is five hours of live coverage of the race every day and they can only show so much of the cycling. They produce a script for the cameras, and there are five television helicopters that don’t just cover the route but the whole region.”
He said Ampleforth Abbey was a stunning visual image from the sky, dominating the valley and they were also thinking about big pieces of landscape art that they could produce that could attract the attention of the television cameras.
The abbey also plans to promote its tea rooms as a resting place for cyclists before and after the tour, marketing it on maps of the cycling routes across the North York Moors, providing more cycle storage and even developing special cycle menus to cater for cyclists.
Park aims to beat queues
Stockeld Park, the privately-owned estate and tourism attraction, has seen an early opportunity to support the infrastructure surrounding the hosting of the Grand Départ.
The 2,000-acre estate, located on the A661 between Wetherby and Spofforth, has offered its services to local authorities as they work with the organisers to plan the exact route.
Holly Dannhauser, the park’s marketing and PR manager, said they were waiting to hear more about road closures and where congestion may occur, but the Harewood Road seemed likely to be closed.
She said: “The A661 could be the only route out of Harrogate this side.”
The route is expected to pass Harewood House, potentially closing roads and causing congestion.
Holly said they had been considering how they could use the site to help ease congestion and provide respite for travellers.
“We have a huge amount of parking on site,” she said. As a result, the estate is considering hosting a Park and Ride facility where travellers could park their cars at the estate and continue their journey by bike, potentially to the edge of the track to view the race.
Holly said the site could also potentially offer camping and show live screening of the Tour in the grounds so that people could watch the race while having picnics and barbecues in the grounds.
“The event is out of our usual season so we won’t be open to the public,” she said. “So we’re looking at things we can do to open an empty site.”
As well as helping to support the event, Holly said they had been advised by Welcome To Yorkshire to think of how they look from the sky with television helicopters filming the Yorkshire landscape from above. She said they were considering planting yellow flowers to keep in with the yellow theme, reflecting the winner’s yellow jersey, and could also use their ice rink as a platform for a feature that can be seen from the sky.