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The 2017 Grand Départ, the start of cycling’s Tour de France, will attract at least 1 million spectators to the city of Düsseldorf and will generate an economic impact from catering and accommodation alone of €57.1 million ($62.2 million), according to a study compiled by Deloitte, the international professional services company.

At the end of last year Düsseldorf was named as the host for the iconic event after London turned down the chance to stage it.

Deloitte was hired by the city authorities in Düsseldorf to deliver an economic impact study and, speaking at the SpoBiS conference in the city today, Karsten Hollasch, head of Deloitte’s Sport Business Group in Germany, said that 1 million spectators are expected to attend, albeit he described that figure as “very conservative.”

The estimate followed a poll of 2,104 people who live within two hours of Düsseldorf (including those in Belgium and the Netherlands).

A total of 37 per cent said that they would attend, giving an absolute “visitor potential” of 9.6 million (37 per cent of the 26.1 million people living within the necessary radius), which was then whittled down to 1 million to give the projection as an estimate of how many that hypothetically said they would attend would actually do so.

Last year’s Grand Départ in the Dutch city of Utrecht attracted 1 million visitors, while the 2014 event in the English county of Yorkshire pulled in 3.5 million visitors and the 2012 edition in Liège, Belgium reported 2.2 million spectators.

The €57.1-million economic impact figure for Düsseldorf compares to €35 million for Utrecht and €129 million for Yorkshire, according to figures published by Deloitte.

As it currently stands, the German city's authorities are to cover around €6 million of the hosting budget.

Catering trade income accounts for 95 per cent of the €57.1-million projection, with overnight stays accounting for just five per cent.

A total of 48 per cent of those polled in the Deloitte study said that they would stay overnight if they attended the curtain raiser to the Tour de France. Just over a third (35 per cent) of those who would stay said that they would choose a hotel between one and three starts, while 26 per cent would opt for a four- or five-star hotel, 14 per cent a guesthouse, 3 per cent would stay privately, 10 per cent in a hostel and 2 per cent would camp.

Hollasch claimed that the €3-million figure for hotel stays is also conservative as it does not take into account potentially inflated room prices at the time of the event.

Spectators are expected to spend an average of €54 a day, excluding overnight costs, which are predicted to be €79 per night.

Some 5,000 media, team officials and organisers are expected to be in attendance.

Düsseldorf will be the first German city to stage the Grand Départ since Berlin in 1987. The race will be starting in Germany for the fourth time and a location outside France for the 22nd time.

Given Germany’s strict stance against doping and the perception of cycling in the country – public broadcaster ARD showed last year’s Tour live after a three-year break in protest against several doping cases – Hollasch was also asked if the issue had played any role in the public’s responses in the poll.

He said: “The issue of doping in performance sport should be kept very well in sight. The survey was on potential visitors and I think for those surveyed it wasn’t a major theme. Obviously the doping issue will be discussed closely by both the city and factions as doping in performance sport must be at the back of one’s mind.”

Hollash also pointed to Düsseldorf’s hosting of the European Triathlon Championships and table tennis’ World Championships in the summer of 2017, suggesting that there would be a positive “merge effect” of the events taking place in quick succession, plus cross-marketing opportunities.

Some 62 per cent of respondents to the poll thought that hosting the Grand Départ would have a positive effect on the perception of Düsseldorf, compared to just 4 per cent who thought it would not, and 34 per cent who did not know.

By Martin Ross in Düsseldorf

This article was originally published by GlobalSportsJobs partner Sportcal and you can read the original article in full here.

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