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The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest sporting events in the United Kingdom, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world each year. But the festival’s impact isn’t limited to the world of horse racing – it also has a significant impact on the local economy, creating jobs, boosting local businesses, and generating millions of pounds in revenue.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the impact of the Cheltenham Festival on the local economy, examining the different ways the festival benefits the area and the challenges it presents.
The Cheltenham Festival has a long and storied history, dating back to the 1860s. It has grown significantly over the years, with the festival now attracting tens of thousands of visitors each day, making it one of the biggest sporting events in the UK. The festival is held annually in March, over four days, and features some of the best National Hunt racing in the world including races such as the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and of course, the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup.
But the festival’s impact isn’t limited to horse racing. The event has a significant economic impact on the local area, generating millions of pounds in revenue and creating jobs for local people. In fact, according to a report by Cheltenham Borough Council, the 2019 festival generated an estimated £100 million for the local economy, making it one of the most important events of the year for the area.
One of the most significant ways the Cheltenham Festival benefits the local economy is by creating jobs. The festival employs thousands of people each year, from racecourse staff to security personnel, caterers, and vendors. The 2019 festival employed an estimated 4,000 people, making it one of the biggest employers in the area.
The festival also creates job opportunities for local people, with many businesses hiring temporary staff to help them cope with the increased demand during the festival. This includes hotels, restaurants, bars, and other businesses that see a surge in visitors during the festival.
In addition to creating jobs during the festival itself, the Cheltenham Festival also has a knock-on effect on the local economy. Many businesses see increased trade in the weeks leading up to the festival as visitors begin to arrive in the area. This can be especially important for businesses that may struggle during quieter periods of the year.
Another significant way the Cheltenham Festival benefits the local economy is by boosting local businesses. The festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, many of whom will be looking for somewhere to eat, drink, and shop during their visit.
This presents a significant opportunity for local businesses, many of which will see a significant increase in trade during the festival. This includes not just bars and restaurants, but also hotels, shops, and other businesses that cater to visitors.
According to the Cheltenham Borough Council report, the 2019 festival generated an estimated £59 million in direct spend by visitors, with much of this money going to local businesses. This is a significant boost for the local economy and can help to support businesses throughout the year.
But the increased demand during the festival can also present challenges for local businesses. Some businesses may struggle to cope with the increased demand and may need to hire additional staff or change their business practices to keep up with the influx of visitors.
One of the challenges of hosting a major event like the Cheltenham Festival is the strain it can put on local infrastructure. The festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors each day and this can put pressure on local transport links, roads, and public services.
To address these challenges, the festival organizers work closely with local authorities to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place. This includes measures to improve transport links, such as extra train services and shuttle buses, as well as increased police presence to ensure the safety of visitors.
Despite these measures, the increased traffic and demand for services during the festival can still have an impact on the local community. This can include increased noise and disruption, as well as pressure on local resources such as healthcare services.
To help mitigate these impacts, the festival organizers work closely with local authorities and community groups to ensure that the festival is managed in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the local community.
Finally, the Cheltenham Festival has a significant impact on tourism in the local area. The festival attracts visitors from all over the world and many of these visitors will go on to explore the wider region during their stay.
This presents a significant opportunity for local tourism businesses such as hotels, bed and breakfasts and tourist attractions. According to the Cheltenham Borough Council report, the festival generated an estimated £41 million in indirect spend, much of which went to local tourism businesses.
The increased tourism also helps to raise the profile of the area, showcasing all that it has to offer to a wider audience. This can help to attract new visitors to the area in the future, boosting the local economy in the long term.
The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest sporting events in the UK, and its impact on the local economy cannot be overstated. The festival creates jobs, boosts local businesses, and generates millions of pounds in revenue for the area.
But hosting an event of this scale is not without its challenges. The increased demand during the festival can put pressure on local infrastructure and resources, and can present challenges for local businesses.
Despite these challenges, however, the Cheltenham Festival remains a vital part of the local economy, supporting businesses and creating opportunities for local people. As the festival continues to grow and evolve, it is likely that its impact on the local economy will only increase, making it an important event for the region for years to come.
If you are visiting the Festival this year, we have lots of information regarding tickets, what to wear, how to get to the racecourse and more in our Cheltenham Festival Guide.