A Yorkshire waste management company has branded the post Tour de France clean-up ‘the true legacy of the event,’ saying that rubbish and graffiti may still be visible for the Tour of Yorkshire in May. However, VisitBritain has hailed a record period for tourism off the back of the event, while Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, says that the county’s global profile has never been higher.
"We hate to be seen as the local grinches in what has been one of the great Yorkshire success stories of recent years," says Mark Hall from BigGreen.co.uk. "But first impressions are everything, and at the moment, we're looking a little tatty.”
The Leeds-based waste management firm says that signs of Le Tour are still visible and that the cost of the clear-up is vying with increased interest in cycling as the true legacy of the event. "We're based right in the heart of last year's Tour de France route," says Hall, "and it pains us to see that the clear-up from last year's events still hasn't been completed."
Hall says that Tour de France rubbish and graffiti could still be visible to visitors when the Tour de Yorkshire begins on May 1. "Don't get us wrong, we loved the Tour, and it brought out the very best from England's best county, but it's getting a little embarrassing to see so much Tour promotional stuff still in place. It's like your lazy neighbour leaving his Christmas lights up until Easter."
The criticism comes in the week in which VisitBritain revealed that overseas visits to Yorkshire were up by 12% to 1.08 million in the first nine months of 2014 with those tourists spending a total of £465 million.
From July to September, Yorkshire hosted 472,000 overseas visitors – a record for this three-month period and up by 19 per cent compared to the same period in 2013. A total of £230m was spent during this time, which was also a record.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain said that tourism was one of Britain’s most successful industries and lauded Yorkshire’s contribution. “Yorkshire plays a valuable role in that success and the legacy of its excellent hosting of the Tour de France is clear to see.”
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, added:
“Yorkshire’s global profile has never been higher – and this is further evidence of the huge beneficial impact of bringing the world’s largest annual sporting event to the county. We know when visitors from around the world come to Yorkshire to see it for themselves they fall in love with the county, which in turn helps drive up repeat visits. The new Tour de Yorkshire international cycle race starting this May will help us capitalise on the foundations already laid.”