Stand by your spare beds, share your green fields, start working together and Todmorden could share in a cash bonanza of at least £3 million when the opening stages of the Tour De France come to the area next July.
The Grand Depart will be in Yorkshire on July 5 and 6, 2014, one of the days in the Calder Valley, and there is the opportunity for Todmorden to benefit economically before, after and on the race days as well as creating a lasting impression so people will return to visit the area once they have seen what it can offer.
A well-attended public meeting organised by Todmorden Information Centre at Todmorden Town Hall heard Calderdale Council tourism officer Katie Kinsella say: “It doesn’t matter that Todmorden is not on the route. Thousands and thousands of visitors are descending on Calderdale. It will bring just under £100 million to Yorkshire and that’s just a conservative estimate,” she said.
Around £3 million of that could come to Calderdale with a 15 to 30 per cent uplift in visitors and communities that embraced the race and planned and organised well would be best placed to benefit.
“Hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, get ready to take bookings now, and think about how to get people to stay longer,” she said.
Mayor of Todmorden Coun Jayne Booth introduced the speakers and Pam Warhurst, a Todmordian and chairman of Pennine Prospects, said it was an opportunity not to be missed. “This is the biggest opportunity to put Todmorden on the map, to show international tourists what we have got and kick-start the economy in Todmorden,” she said.
Todmorden Information Centre is already producing literature about Todmorden and The Grand Depart and those attending were asked to leave their details depending on which area their interest lay, for example accommodation, businesses or leisure, among others. The Mayor will chair a steering group which will discuss ideas and strategies and it will grasp the nettle quickly, with the first meeting expecting to be held before the end of June. People interested in joining this were asked to leave their contact details.