Welcome To Yorkshire Submission


DCMS Select Committee Inquiry: Promoting Britain Overseas


In response to the formal meeting (oral evidence session) 22nd February 2022





Welcome to Yorkshire is the official Destination Management Organisation for Yorkshire. Working with our partners in local authorities and members across industry, we support and develop Yorkshire’s regional tourism offer, growing the visitor economy and providing sector leadership in our region.

Tourism in Yorkshire pre-pandemic was worth £9 billion annually with the region’s tourism and hospitality industry employing almost 225,000 people. Welcome to Yorkshire pre-pandemic had a global brand reach over 23 million and a social reach of almost 20 million.

Welcome to Yorkshire welcomes the Select Committee Inquiry on Promoting Britain Overseas. Restoring confidence in tourism and hospitality as we recover from the impact of restrictions is crucial for the long-term success of our economic recovery. We note the Committee’s interest in the 2014 Tour de France and provide this submission in response.



Welcome to Yorkshire is responding to the evidence provided at the formal meeting (oral evidence session) held at Knebworth House on 22nd February 2022. At this meeting, evidence was provided relating to the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire.

Welcome to Yorkshire acted as race organiser, working in partnership with Amaury Sport Organisation. We are therefore well-placed to provide a clear and evidence-based assessment of the economic impacts, supported by research conducted on behalf of Welcome to Yorkshire, by partners and by independent third parties.

The Tour de France is one of the largest annual sporting events in the world, attracting an audience of 3.5 billion people across 180 countries. Yorkshire hosted the first two stages of the 2014 Grand Depart. The first leg began in Leeds and finished in Harrogate. The second leg was held between York and Sheffield. Tour director Christian Prudhomme described the 2014 race as “the grandest Grand Depart” in the 111-year history of the race.

Response to the question posed at the formal meeting (oral evidence):


“Can I just ask you about sport tourism because I remember Gary Verity and The Tour, when he won The Tour de France, the UK leg of The Tour de France, from under the nose of the Government who were promoting a different option. Did that have a lasting impact for Yorkshire, as it’s such a massive event?” Clive Efford MP


Welcome to Yorkshire firmly believe the 2014 Tour de France had a lasting positive impact on our region. The Grand Depart elevated Yorkshire to the world stage, showcasing our destinations to a diverse and engaged audience across the globe. The event had a transformational effect on active lifestyles and re-established Yorkshire as a destination which can deliver major events. Our success has since attracted the UCI Road Championships, ICC Cricket World Cup, Rugby League World Cup, UEFA Women’s Euro Championships alongside Welcome to Yorkshire’s Tour de Yorkshire race.

Yorkshire’s heritage and landscape has undoubtably inspired many more visitors to our region. Welcome to Yorkshire’s online presence grew significantly during the Grand Depart giving us the opportunity to share campaigns which attract international visitors to a wider and more engaged audience.

Three Inspirational Days


An evaluation by Welcome to Yorkshire, Leeds City Council, UK Sport and Transport for London examined the economic and social impact of hosting The Tour de France and its legacy. ‘Three Inspirational Days’[a] outlines the £102 million economic benefit for Yorkshire which expected to rise to over £150m long-term through increased tourism, additional profile for the region and trade deals secured at the Grand Depart International Business Festival, an event which attracted 2,000 participants from 10 different nations to drive business growth.

Key findings from the report;

Legacy impacts discussed in the report show that 44% of spectators living outside Yorkshire returned in the three months after the race.

The long-term benefit on infrastructure includes decisions taken to introduce a Cycle Superhighway linking Leeds and Bradford and building a new velodrome in York. North Yorkshire County Council have since successfully bid for £1.65 million from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to deliver upgraded cycle parking spaces and crossing improvements.

Immediate impact on regional tourism


The number of overseas visitors between January and September 2014, went up by 12 per cent to

1.08 million, spending a total of £465m. The strongest growth in visits came from Australia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and USA.


In the third quarter of the year there were 472,000 overseas visitors to Yorkshire, up by 19 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. A total of £230m was spent during this three-month period. [b]

The economic impact data shows the sectors which benefitted most include restaurants, local businesses related to the visitor economy, cycling shops, transport providers, suppliers for events and accommodation providers. A report for City of York Council [c] found that 70,000 visitors to the city were ‘non casual’ - demonstrating the attraction of this event - staying for an average of just under 3 nights, generating £1.8m in total revenue for the accommodation sector. An investment which supported the wider economy, creating new opportunities for suppliers and local enterprise.

Likelihood to revisit


Of Stage 1 and 2 spectators from outside Yorkshire, 75% strongly agreed they would be more likely to recommend Yorkshire to friends and family. Of the same group, 72% said their image of Yorkshire had been enhanced and that 66% would be more likely to visit Yorkshire for a short break or holiday. Of the National Omnibus survey respondents, 27% said that they strongly agreed that the image of the UK overall and the areas that hosted the Tour have been enhanced. The equivalent of 4 million people said they were more likely to visit these areas. [d]

These statistics provide clear evidence of the measurable impact of hosting the event in Yorkshire. There is a clear link between the Grand Depart, an increase in visitor numbers and spend, and likelihood to return.

However, there are also many impacts on skills, culture, infrastructure, and collaborative working between public and private stakeholders which have benefitted the regional visitor economy.  Welcome to Yorkshire believe these outcomes have proven to be valuable long-term to tourism in our region.

Securing a cycling and tourism legacy


Welcome to Yorkshire’s Cycle Yorkshire strategy aimed to deliver a cycling legacy which galvanised enthusiasm and participation following the Grand Depart. We recognised the potential for sport to address social issues through active lifestyles, increasing sustainable travel, boosting tourism, and supporting social inclusion. [e]

Working with our partners, we have been committed to building Yorkshire's cycling reputation even further. Hosting the Grand Depart and subsequent competitions have played a crucial role in achieving our aims. However, we recognised more which could be done to address discrepancies in cycling and tourism infrastructure, participation in activities, and access to opportunities across the region.

To secure a cycling legacy Welcome to Yorkshire outlined five key areas of focus for activity;

1.  Get more people cycling, with greater training and access to cycling.

2.  Make cycling easier by working with local authority partners to improve infrastructure and facilities.

3.  More events to broaden awareness and opportunities for all generations and abilities.

4.  Greater awareness of cycling and cyclists through campaigns which promote the benefits of travel planning, bike safety and cycle friendly routes.


5.  A thriving network of cycling businesses and social enterprises to support Yorkshire's growing cycling community.

This ambitious plan requires everyone living, working, investing, and visiting Yorkshire to play their part to ensure our region remains the best place to live, visit and cycle. We have worked to deliver cycling related activities and campaigns in the years following the Grand Depart which have met these objectives, working with partners to develop regional sports tourism offer and attract new visitors.

Over 60 bike libraries were opened across the region with support from our commercial partner Yorkshire Bank. These locations or mobile units have a fleet of bikes, included some donated by the public, available for children and families to borrow for free. Bikes can be used to participate in a range of activities to promote healthy living and social inclusion such as a guided ride in the local community, a basic bike skills or maintenance course, or to give users the freedom to ride on a safe route. [f]

Welcome to Yorkshire and Visit East Yorkshire’s Ride East campaign is an example of destination development and marketing to support cycling tourism. The project capitalises on the high profile of cycling generated by the Tour de France, bike libraries and other related events.

The creation of high-quality cycling images and video content have been deployed to improve visual influence through a social media campaign. Alongside grants to support businesses seeking to improve their tourism offer and to support our overall aim to bring more visitors to the region and make cycling more accessible through cycle friendly locations, bike hire and bike storage.

In December 2021, Welcome to Yorkshire hosted a Ride East event at Westfield Shopping Centre in London, engaging with our primary domestic target audience during the pandemic whilst tapping into London’s recovering international visitor market. The campaign reached over half a million impressions, demonstrating the continued demand for cycling related tourism generated from the impact of the Tour.

The Tour de Yorkshire


Since the Grand Depart, Welcome to Yorkshire has worked with partners to deliver an annual elite sport competition dedicated to building on the legacy and momentum of the 2014 race. The Tour de Yorkshire has continued to shine a spotlight on our region, attracting a huge number of visitors between 2015-2019. Due to the outbreak of the global pandemic, the 2020-2022 events have been unable to take place.

The Tour de Yorkshire has catalysed interest in our region with audiences abroad. The scale of coverage through global audiences more than doubled, with international broadcast partners showcasing the best of Yorkshire’s destinations increasing spectators year on year. Below are statistics relating to spectators and international reach. This level of interest would not have been possible without the successful delivery, collaborative experience and infrastructure from the Tour de France Grand Depart.


Tour de Yorkshire

Roadside Spectators

Number of boradcast territories

Global TV viewers

Number of countries visiting offical website


1.5 million


6 million



2 million


11.4 million



2.2 million


9.7 million





2.6 million


12.5 million



1.9 million


28 million




Welcome to Yorkshire evaluations show that 21% of spectators in 2018 were from outside of Yorkshire and abroad. The long-term benefits of this exposure to new inbound audiences are reflected in visitor numbers and spend. Looking closely at 2018, inbound tourism in Yorkshire rose to 1.39 million, up 3.8% on 2017 with a total spend of £603 million, up 6.4% on the year. Yorkshire was the only region in the UK to have seen an increase in the number and spend for international visitors in 2018. [g]

We are immensely proud of our record hosting the Tour de France, Tours de Yorkshire and cultural and sporting events. We hope this submission offers a more accurate response to the Select Committee’s question and makes a strong case for the lasting impact these events have had to our regional visitor economy. Welcome to Yorkshire wholeheartedly support the Government’s ambition to bring the Tour de France back to Britain in 2026 as part of a wider plan to attract more international visitors and promote Britain abroad.

Welcome to Yorkshire would like to thank the Select Committee for undertaking this important inquiry. If there are any aspects of this submission which require further information or clarification, please do let us know.

Hashim Kohan



Head of Strategic Engagement Welcome to Yorkshire





[a]  Three Inspirational Days; Welcome to Yorkshire, Leeds City Council, TdFHUB2014LTD, UK Sport and Transport for London, 2014 https://content.tfl.gov.uk/tour-de-france-three-inspirational-days- impact.pdf


[b]  “Yorkshire’s Tour de France Legacy starts to show”, Visit Britain Media Centre, 2015 https://www.visitbritain.com/gb/en/media/corporate-news/yorkshires-tour-de-france-tourism- legacy-starts-show-5


[c]  p23, Impacts of the Tour in York, City of York Council, 2014; https://democracy.york.gov.uk/documents/s95198/4.%20Background%20Paper_York_SMALL1.pdf


[d]  p37-39, Impacts of the Tour in York, City of York Council, 2014; https://democracy.york.gov.uk/documents/s95198/4.%20Background%20Paper_York_SMALL1.pdf


[e]  Welcome to Yorkshire, Cycle Yorkshire Strategy, 2013 http://cycle.yorkshire.com/the- legacy#:~:text=A%20legacy%20for%20everyone&text=It%20provides%20a%20new%20degree,beco ming%20fitter%20with%20every%20ride


[f]  Welcome to Yorkshire and Yorkshire Bank, Yorkshire Bike Libraries; https://bikelibraries.yorkshire.com/


[g]  Welcome to Yorkshire Tourism Data Report, September 2019, available on request