Phil MeekinView Profile
Many businesses operating on the coast or in the tourist areas of Yorkshire will be acutely aware of the problems of running a seasonal business. It is not just the seafront cafes, restaurants and hotels but all the infrastructure which feeds and serves these businesses and both the local and visiting populations.
Ironically last year these cyclical businesses benefited from cycles! When the people of Yorkshire had the chance of hosting Le Grand Départ in 2014, they saw its marvellous marketing opportunity. And what an opportunity! They were able to showcase not just the varied, breath-taking scenery but the enthusiasm and warmth of the people to a worldwide audience. It was a fantastic success which will benefit the region for many years to come.
Not content to rest on their laurels, to keep memories fresh in the minds of potential tourists a new world-class road cycle race has been created – Tour de Yorkshire. Sounds a good name if a tad French – maybe On yer bike would have fit better? But with names such as Bradley Wiggins competing and some diverse, challenging routes, it looks set to become a regular event in the future cycling calendar.
According to Tourism: jobs and growth by Deloitte, in 2013 the invisible earnings from tourism in the UK totalled £24bn. Of that 47% was spent in London and only 12% across the rest of England. So hopefully this will attract more tourists to the North. Although sterling is at record high levels making our exports seem very expensive, tourism seems less sensitive to currency fluctuations. Indeed for a number of years the UK tourist market has gone from strength to strength.
The Tour de Yorkshire will doubtless be welcomed as an out-of-season boost to local businesses. Plus, it will also be advertising Yorkshire as a tourist destination later in the year. This type of promotion can only benefit the many struggling businesses and help them to avoid insolvency.