Tour of Britain Devon leg provided ‘multi-million pound’ boost, according to study.

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MORE than £7.3 million was injected into Devon’s economy from this year’s Tour of Britain cycle race, according to independent research published by tour organisers.

The study shows that the Barnstaple to Dartmouth stage of the race generated more than double the £3.1 million pumped into the county’s economy during the 2011 Devon leg.

An estimated 220,000 people watched this year’s stage compared with 125,000 spectators the previous year. Of those, 160,000 were day visitors while more than 60,000 stayed overnight.

The survey found that day visitors spent an average of £62 per group and overnight visitors spent £105 per group.

Ninety five per cent of those who watched the Devon stage said it was a ‘very enjoyable’ experience.

Twenty seven per cent stayed overnight in the area and a quarter said it was their sole reason for visiting Devon.

On Thursday night, this year’s Devon stage was named runner-up in the Devon Tourism Awards’ Event of the Year category.

Devon County Council’s member for the economy, Councillor Will Mumford, said: “Once again, the Tour of Britain has proved an enormous success story for Devon.

“Devon County Council has to think carefully about spending public money on hosting an event like this.

“But our investment has been returned many times over in this direct boost to the economy of the county which would not have happened otherwise.

“In addition a world-wide TV audience has seen what makes our county so special. The weather couldn’t have been kinder to show off the beauty of Devon from the North Devon coast through the rugged majesty of Dartmoor to the delights of the South Hams.”

The survey also found that 75 per cent of respondents were inspired to cycle more regularly after watching the race.

The council’s member for highways, Cllr Stuart Hughes, said: “This year’s tour was the best ever and it has illustrated why our county is a premier destination for cycle tourism.

“The atmosphere was electric and it was incredible to see Mark Cavendish and the other top riders in Devon.

“I find it very positive that the event has inspired people to take up cycling or return to cycling.”

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