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True value of UCIs to be revealed this year

True value of UCIs to be revealed this year

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Lachlan Leeming at 1:44pm 12th September 2019.

One of the world’s biggest consultants will determine the exact scale of the economic boost to Harrogate after the UCI cycling championships finish.

Such is Harrogate Borough Council’s determination to work out the real value of hosting the event for nine days, it has appointed accounting giants Ernst and Young to research its economic impact.

With residents concerned the benefits of the championships won’t offset the disruption it is anticipated to cause, the authority’s cabinet member for economic development said a “high quality understanding” of the races’ impact was needed.

Deputy council leader Graham Swift said: 

“Ernst and Young is a respected, global organisation with proven experience in the evaluation of large-scale projects and its work on the world stage is renowned.  We expect to obtain a high quality understanding of the impact of the championships on the district which will provide evidence to establish a platform for us to remain on the world stage for other types of events in the future.”

It was Ernst and Young’s work on the 2018 version of the race in Innusbruck, Austria, which revealed the region made 40 million Euros, balanced against a budget of 14.6 million Euros.

However, concerns remain in some quarters about the impact that town centre road closures will have on Harrogate businesses, with a small number choosing to close their doors for the duration of the event.

The economic dangers of playing host were also demonstrated at the 2017 event at Bergen, with the city having to rely on the Norwegian Government and crowd-funding to make up a funding shortfall as anticipated sponsorship failed to materialise. 

However Coun Swift is confident the work undertaken by Ernst and Young, who have already been commissioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to assess the impact of this month’s event on the wider Yorkshire region, will reflect the boon of hosting the races.

He said: 

"Large events such as the UCI Road World Championships make a significant contribution to the local economy.  Hotels, bars and restaurants thrive when large numbers of visitors stay here and spend their money locally. And, retailers have an opportunity to promote their products to thousands of people who may not normally be in the district.  It is important we measure the positive impact on the economy to ensure event organisers can establish the best outcomes in planning for future events.”

The report will include analysis of the number of visitors and amount of nights stayed, as well as their spending habits and the impact of the event on employment.

The total price of the contract is worth £19,000. Their report is expected to be completed by December 2019, however it may be held up at the request of the UCI to coincide with the wider regional report.