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OPINION: The East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader’s column with Stephen Parnaby OBE

The Tour de Yorkshire creates a feel good factor in communities.
The Tour de Yorkshire creates a feel good factor in communities.

Both Pocklington and the wider East Riding enjoyed some fantastic national and global TV, radio, newspaper and online coverage last month when the area hosted the Tour de Yorkshire for the fourth time.

The men’s and women’s races started in Beverley and took in a huge swathe of the East Riding, as some of the world’s leading cyclists raced through picturesque countryside and vibrant market towns.

Tens of thousands of people lined the two routes and it was brilliant to see so many flags, blue and yellow bunting, creative displays and smiling faces as people young and old cheered the riders on.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who decorated the route and supported this first-class sporting spectacle.

It would not be possible without you.

The Tour de Yorkshire creates a feel good factor in communities and, as well as attracting huge numbers of people to watch the live action and enjoy the other entertainment, the publicity it generates is worth multiple times more than the money the council invests in bringing this event to the area each year.

The East Riding, in all its glory, is showcased to a global audience in nearly 200 countries and the benefits to the tourism economy are massive.

Not only are shop tills ringing all day but the longer-term result is that the exposure “sells” the East Riding across the UK and the world as a great place to visit.

You only have to go out and about to see that the number of people of all ages cycling through the towns, villages and the countryside is increasing every year and that is another positive legacy of the tour.

Anything which brings visitors to the East Riding and promotes it to a huge audience has got to be good news for us all.

If tourism is thriving – and shops, accommodation providers and other businesses are benefitting – then that supports employment and the East Riding economy as a whole.

Through its commercial agreement with Welcome to Yorkshire, the East Riding is already guaranteed a stage start or finish of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire and, once we have all caught our breath, preparations will start again soon!

Next year’s event will also act as the perfect warm up for the UCI Road World Championships which will be contested in Yorkshire next September.