VisitScotland welcomes tourism boost from major cycling event

Dumfries & Galloway will welcome the Friends Life Tour of Britain again this September and VisitScotland expects the major event to bring a welcome boost to the region’s tourism economy.

VisitScotland hopes that the event impact positively on accommodation providers in the region providing them with another tourism opportunity to capitalise upon. With cycling being a popular activity in Dumfries & Galloway the region is well set to host such an inspirational event.

Scotland will welcome two stages of the Friends Life Tour of Britain on two separate days for the first time ever. The third stage of British Cycling’s premier road cycling event comes through Gretna from Cockermouth before proceeding to its finale in the Scottish Borders.

Tuesday 8th September will see Stage Three, which starts in Cumbria, conclude at Floors Castle, Kelso in the Scottish Borders, before the UK’s biggest professional cycle race resumes a day later from Edinburgh, the first visit to Scotland’s capital for the modern race.

Departing from Holyrood Park, Stage Four will pass through the centre of Edinburgh before heading into East Lothian and then through the Scottish Borders to Northumberland, where the stage will finish in Blyth.

As biking is a key activity in the south of Scotland with five 7Stanes mountain biking trails located in Dumfries & Galloway and 2 located in the Scottish Borders. Around 82% of visitors are from outwith Scotland primarily from North West England, North East England, Yorkshire and Humberside.

Paula McDonald, Regional Director of VisitScotland, said; “We are delighted to welcome the Friends Life Tour of Britain back to Dumfries & Galloway this year. The region boasts excellent cycling credentials from world class mountain biking opportunities at many of the 7Stanes sites as well as on-road cycling through incredible scenery and this event will help boost the profile of Dumfries & Galloway putting the region on an international platform.”

“With excitement and passion for cycling and a record high following the hugely successful road race at the Commonwealth Games last year, we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s top riders to Scotland once again.”

Commenting on the announcement, Mick Bennett, Race Director of Friends Life Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot said; “This year’s route gives us the fantastic opportunity to have two days of racing in Scotland I am sure many cycling fans will be excited, just like we are, at the prospect of seeing the world’s top riders through Dumfries & Galloway, and will hopefully use the race as an opportunity to visit the areas we pass through”.

Further details of both stages, including Ordnance Survey stage maps, will be announced in the Summer, along with details of the 20 competing teams.

Once again ITV will screen three-hours of live coverage of every stage, starting on ITV for the opening Wales stage before reverting to ITV4 for Stages Two to Eight. ITV4 will also screen a one-hour highlights programme each evening during the race.

The Friends Life Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step. The two stages in Scotland will once again be supported by Scottish Cycling.