THE 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are estimated to have had a direct economic impact on the Scottish Borders of over £6million, Councillors heard this week at a meeting of the Executive Committee.

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.

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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.

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This concluded that 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.

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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.”

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.”

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.