Harrogate is already seeing a business boost from UCI says tourism boss

The head of Harrogate’s official tourism body says there has already been an immediate benefit to the town from its controversial role as host of the UCI cycling championships.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:15 am
Harrogate is already seeing an increased level of interest from abroad as a result of the UCI cycling championships. Picture: SWPix

Despite anger from traders who felt the international sporting event had lost them business, Visit Harrogate director Richard Spencer said figures showed that worldwide search traffic for Harrogate had risen online by a third as a result of the cycling event.

And, he added, the town had just secured a new event as a result of the UCIs never previously held in the UK.

Mr Spencer, writing in his regular Harrogate Advertiser column this week, said: “One of the world’s largest gatherings of cycling tour operators has chosen to host their event, The Cycle Summit, in Harrogate in 2020.

Rising levels of abuse lead to overhaul to protect Harrogate's lone workers“This will be the first time for the UK and another chance for us to show the cycling industry why they should bring their business to our towns and villages.”

Mr Spencer said the prestige of hosting the UCI Road World Championships meant Harrogate’s name was reaching new parts of the world and attracting new potential business. He said the situation with organisers The Cycle Summit was an ideal case in point as to the UCI effect.

He said: “Along with Welcome to Yorkshire, we hosted a visit by the organisers in August.

This is what Harrogate protesters said happened at David Cameron's talk last night“Needless to say, they loved our town and region and could see our commitment to the sport and leisure pursuit in our work in hosting the World Championships.

“It’s an immediate legacy return from all our UCI efforts.”

Mr Spencer said he had been impressed by the number of Harrogate traders making the effort to appeal to cycling visitors and believed they fully deserved to reap the benefits.

Zwift, the internationally popular multiplayer online cycling and running videogame and physical training programmers, had sent 75 executives from the US to meet and talk business in Harrogate during the event.

Six arrested as police board buses and trains in county-lines drug-dealing crackdownMr Spencer said Harrogate’s tourist information office had enjoyed a record-breaking week during the UCIs.

He said: “The Tourist Information Centre in Harrogate set new records in terms of visitor numbers and also sales.

“We had no UCI stock left by the end of the week.”