The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are estimated to have had a direct economic impact on the Scottish Borders of over £6million, Councillors heard today at a meeting of the Executive Committee.
Glentress Forest host venue
Glentress Forest, one of Scotland’s most renowned mountain bike locations, was a proud host venue for the Championships which took place in Glasgow and across Scotland in August.
The Mountain Bike Cross-country and Mountain Bike Cross-country Marathon events held at Glentress and in the Tweed Valley attracted an estimated 23,393 spectators, including more than 3,000 visitors staying in paid accommodation who came specifically for the events.
A local economic and social impact assessment has been carried out to understand the benefits generated by the investment from a range of partners, including the Council, to bring the Championships to the region.
- The direct economic impact was an estimated £6,039,308
- Over a third of the economic impact was generated within the accommodation sector
- The spectator perception of the Scottish Borders was overwhelmingly positive
- A cumulative audience of 43.6million viewers watched television coverage of the events at Glentress
Councillor Scott Hamilton, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Community and Business Development, said: “Glentress was an outstanding venue for the World Championships, and I am delighted at the incredibly positive results that have been presented to us today.
“The boost to the local economy from competitors, support staff, spectators, event staff and volunteers is substantial, and provided a huge return on our investment in the event. I’d like to thank all the partners involved in putting on the Championships in the Borders.
“These results emphasise the very positive impact that the Council’s investment into bringing national and international scale events to the area can have, and we remain committed to continuing to do this, whilst also supporting existing local events to grow and new events to take place.”
Benefit of geographical spread
Trudy Lindblade, Chief Executive Officer, 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, added: “The outcomes of the local economic and social impacts on the Scottish Borders demonstrate the benefit of the geographical spread of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships across Scotland. The opportunity for a renowned regional mountain biking location such as Glentress Forest successfully hosting the Mountain Bike Cross-country events that were broadcast around the world, is something the local community can be immensely proud of.
“It was tremendous to see so many international and local visitors descend on the region in support of the World Championships, providing a significant boost for the economy and supporting the legacy ambitions of South of Scotland Cycling Strategy which will further embrace the power of the bike.”
Increased profile of the region
Hosting the World Championships showcased Glentress and the Scottish Borders to the world, raising the profile of the area as a must-visit destination among the international cycling and active-traveller community.
David Hope Jones OBE, Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance, said: “The UCI Cycling World Championships at Glentress were a tremendous success, with tens of thousands of spectators flocking to Peeblesshire from near and far to enjoy thrilling races between the world’s best cross-country mountain bikers. These economic impact statistics demonstrate the enormous value of such events to local tourism and hospitality businesses.
“As one of the flagship events in a real ‘year of cycling’ in the South of Scotland, along with the launch of the fantastic new Kirkpatrick Coast to Coast route, the Championships have introduced a whole new audience to the ’Home of the Bike’.
“The positive experiences visitors will have taken away with them following the event are arguably even more valuable to the South of Scotland than the financial benefits, since they will now spread the word far and wide and encourage even more people to discover this exceptional part of the world for themselves.”
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, added: “What a great event it was and the economic impact of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships on the Scottish Borders really does really highlight the power of the bike.
“Cycling offers significant economic opportunities for our region, and as well the South of Scotland Cycling Partnership believes it can positively impact many other aspects of our society.
“These include addressing fuel poverty, transport issues, community isolation, health and wellbeing, workforce and education inclusion and diversity and equality.
South of Scotland Cycling Partnership Strategy
“After such a positive year for the South of Scotland, we now want to build on this success and continue to make progress, with the South of Scotland Cycling Partnership Strategy, and our ultimate aim of making the South a world-class cycling location.”
The vision of the South of Scotland Cycling Strategy, developed by partners across the region, is that by 2032 our communities are shaped around and include all of our people and that cycling is the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys, and embedded into the daily fabric of the lives of residents and experiences of our visitors.
Together with the other partners, the Council want the South of Scotland to be recognised as Scotland’s leading cycling destination and a world class cycling destination of excellence in which to live, visit, study and invest.
Significant investment is already being made into a range of cycling-related projects and programmes locally. This includes: the development of the national Mountain Bike Innovation Centre in Innerleithen, the 250-mile Kirkpatrick C2C route, the 7Stanes network, multi-use paths across the region, and the Destination Tweed long distance trail.