Cycle tours in Warwickshire gave 'astounding' cash boost to towns

Cyclists in the OVO Women's Tour passing through Kenilworth. Photo: Andy Garsed
Cyclists in the OVO Women's Tour passing through Kenilworth. Photo: Andy Garsed

Elite cycle tours that passed through Warwickshire recently caused a huge upturn in towns' economies.

And Warwickshire county councillors said the county needs to build on the success of one-off events such as the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

Cllr Dave Reilly (Con, Coleshill North and Water Orton), Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for environment and heritage and culture, told the latest Cabinet meeting of the council that the plan for the next four years was to build on those success stories.

He said: “Clearly our ambition is for people to stay for longer and to spend more when they are with us.

“Tourism is a major success story for the county. In 2016, 15 million people visited Warwickshire supporting 20,000 jobs and generating more than £1 billion for the economy purely from tourism. That is an absolutely incredible set of figures.

“The Women’s Tour this year brought an extra 100,000 people into the county - which is ten per cent up from last year - bringing in an extra £3m worth of income. These figures are astounding."

“Employment in the county is fantastic however we have a significant number of distribution jobs which will face automation and this is a great opportunity for us to grow the economy.”

There was plenty of support for the cycling - the Tour of Britain featuring male cyclists also passed through Warwickshire earlier this month.

Cllr Sarah Boad (Lib Dem, Leamington North) said: “I’m glad that you mentioned the cycling because a really important part of this strategy could be those one-off events. These high profile events raise the profile and I know that people come back in holiday time.

“When it comes to the Commonwealth Games, the bowls will be in Leamington.

"Leamington is the best place to play bowls in the whole country, there is no doubt about that. We’ve just had a whole month hosting the English Championships and these events are huge benefits to Leamington and the surrounding area.”

A report to the meeting also suggested building a new partnership with Coventry as they work to develop their City of Culture programme.