The arrival of the Tour of Britain in the north-east could inject more than £2 million into the north-east economy in a single day, organisers have claimed.
In September the final stage of the event – Britain’s top cycle race, featuring stars of the sport from all over the world – will end with a sprint on Aberdeen’s Esplanade after winding its way 173 kilometres through Aberdeenshire from Stonehaven.
The north-east will also host the opening stage of the 2022 event.
Race bosses say there is potential for a huge windfall from the day of the event alone, providing businesses with a much-needed boost after a year and a half of Covid-19 restrictions.
In the last edition of the race, which was held in 2019, the stage from Glasgow to Kirkcudbright generated more than £2 million per day for the south-west economy.
Sweetspot, the firm which organises the tour and which has held three editions of the successful Tour Series events in Aberdeen, believes the impact on the north-east could be even greater.
And with the event being beamed to millions around the world on television, there is also the potential for it to attract fresh visitors to the north-east.
Tour is ‘advert for north-east’
“With the TV coverage, you effectively have a four or five-hour commercial for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire,” the tour’s marketing director Peter Hodges said.
“There will be people watching around the world who may never have been to the north-east of Scotland before, and many of them will decide to go there after seeing it.
“Cycling is essentially a postcard for the whole area. Other sports are confined to stadiums whereas the Tour of Britain travels right through the whole of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“It is unique because there is no other sporting event which shows off an entire region.
“The day itself will bring people into both areas. There are huge economic benefits to hosting a stage of the tour – it has a huge impact on local businesses because lots of people who wouldn’t normally be there are visiting on the day.”
The racing will begin in Stonehaven before taking in Fettercairn, Cairn O’Mount, Strachan, Ballater, Tarland and Castle Fraser before finishing in front of Aberdeen’s iconic Beach Ballroom.
Along the way large crowds are expected to line the route – particularly in Stonehaven, host of the start of the stage.
In the town there are hopes the event will provide a welcome and lasting boon for businesses, especially in hospitality, which have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Race ‘like another day of Fireballs’
“There is going to be a massive focus on the town,” said Sheila Howarth of the Stonehaven Business Association.
“Events like the Tour of Britain give people a chance to see what there is to do in the area.
“If we can encourage tourism it will be fantastic for the town.
“People will come to Stonehaven and spend money, which will be so important. That could be the difference between some of our businesses making it through the winter and not, because with the coronavirus restrictions we have lost most of the summer.
“It has a massive impact. This has the potential to be like an extra day of the Fireballs.
“The whole thing will be brilliant for the local economy.”
Event can attract cyclists
Local tourism body VisitAberdeenshire is hopeful the north-east will become a haven for cyclists looking to emulate the world’s best in years to come.
“We’re proud to welcome some of the best cyclists in the world to the roads of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as the Tour of Britain event comes to an exciting end,” VisitAberdeenshire chief executive Chris Foy said.
“No doubt the spectacular route from Stonehaven to Aberdeen will inspire cyclists watching on television to venture north to take on our iconic climbs and enjoy our renowned hospitality.”