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Harrogate sees £17.8m boost from World Championships fans

Report states that spectators contributed a total of £22.5m to the local economy

Joe Robinson
17 Feb 2020

Hosting the World Championships last September saw the Yorkshire town of Harrogate receive a £17.8 million boost to the local economy, a report has claimed.

The report, commissioned by Harrogate Borough Council and created by Ernst and Young, states that over the nine days of events, a total of 69,000 spectators travelled to the Yorkshire town for the Worlds and spent a combined total of £22.5 million during their stay.

In addition, it saw a total of 849 accredited journalists and 2,100 accredited team members spend an additional £2.3 million during their time in the town, too.

Together, the total amount spent in Harrogate during the week of the Worlds was £24.8 million. With the town, on average, seeing tourism spend amount to £6.3 million during this amount of time, it means that the cycling event helped to bring in that massive £17.8 million additional spend.

This comes after further reports saw global television audiences increase 31 per cent for last year's Worlds, a new record.

The 69,000 unique spectators contributed to a total of 219,000 fans travelling to Harrogate throughout the whole week. As for the whole of Yorkshire, 712,000 spectators attended at the roadside.

Of those watching, 46,000 of the unique spectators travelled from outside of Yorkshire, 20,000 of those from elsewhere in the UK while 12,000 made the trip from abroad.

Of that 46,000 spectators that visited the Worlds, 18,000 first-time visitors also indicated a desire to return.

As many as 24,000 spectators ending up staying at least one night in Harrogate, seeing a total £9 million spent on accommodation while a further £5.9 million was spent on food and drink and £2.5 million on transport.

Interestingly, the report also suggested that 60 per cent of all local residents surveyed were 'very satisfied' with the event with just 7% claiming to be 'highly dissatisfied'. 

This comes in spite of local media reports in the immediate aftermath of the Worlds that suggested local business owners and residents called for an end to cycling events in the city due to bad experiences from the Worlds.

It reached such an extent that Harrogate Borough Council 'declined the offer' to host the Tour of Yorkshire in 2020, with council leader Richard Cooper saying, 'I think people want a rest from big events for a while and that is what I want to give them.'

Cyclist conducted its own investigation into the effects of the World Championships on Harrogate and Yorkshire as a whole last year.

We found that a range of businesses profited in the immediate aftermath of the events, financially, and that the legacy created by the Tour de France in 2014 through to the Worlds had led to a cycling focus across many cities in the county.