Richard Muir: World cycling championships will be a huge boost for Glasgow

THE UCI Cycling World Championships 2023 is coming to Glasgow, and it is not just cycling fanatics who are excited about the prospect of the world once again descending on our city.

With restrictions easing and businesses beginning to recover, I’ve detected a definite sense of resilience around much of the Glasgow and Scottish business community despite all the global and local challenges that they face. Senior UN officials have spoken bluntly recently about what they see as the major challenges facing society, individuals and businesses which they have described as ‘the 4Cs’ that are coronavirus recovery, climate change, cost of living crisis and conflicts around the world.

Closer to home the evidence suggests that overall business confidence in Scotland is still strong in key sectors such as manufacturing and in financial and business services. While the picture is more challenging for tourism and retail, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce believes that we have much to be positive about due to a significant tranche of projects which deserve investment and support and which in turn will stimulate and reinvigorate the city region economy. These include continuing support of the Glasgow City Center Taskforce, Glasgow Airport recovery – a key strategic asset for Glasgow and Scotland, and the UCI Cycling World Championships 2023

The latter is especially important as it will reinforce Glasgow’s status as a world-class sporting and event city, in a year when it celebrates being European Capital City of Sport for a second time. This will enable Glasgow to highlight the many health, transport, education, sport and tourism benefits the championships will bring.

Glasgow has in recent times earned an enviable international reputation as a city that successfully attracts and delivers world class events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and COP26 last year. The city has become a major destination in its own right because of its hospitality and retail offering and with its diverse mix of music, arts and culture venues and activities, events and festivals and its willingness to experiment and deliver value for money. Glasgow is now globally recognized as being authentic and accessible and its reputation in the business and leisure events space will undoubtedly make a massive contribution to the recovery of the post-pandemic economy.

It’s an event we warmly welcome and one many of our members have endorsed as a priority and a project which will help the city to continued recovery and growth. Glasgow will provide five venues for the championship with Dumfries & Galloway (para-cycling road) and Stirling (time trial) also hosting events.

More than one million spectators are expected to attend the Championships throughout Scotland, with a global TV audience of around one billion reaching up to 150 countries, making it one of the Top 10 watched sporting events on the planet. The event will have a positive impact and bring benefits to all parts of Scotland, generating an estimated economic value of £ 67M for the country and put us in the ‘shop window’ for tourism visits for years to come.

Other direct benefits accrue too as Glasgow will be the first UK city to be awarded a UCI Bike City label, which supports and rewards host cities and regions alongside those which invest in developing community cycling and related infrastructure and programs. The UCI announced in March that the 2022 UCI Mobility and Bike City Forum will also take place at UCI Bike City Glasgow on 27-28 October 2022. It will be held at the Technology and Innovation Center of the University of Strathclyde and in collaboration with Glasgow Life.

So as preparations get going for the city to host yet another global event, I think businesses and residents alike should take a few moments to be rightly proud of our reputation to deliver events like this and hope for many more in the future.

Richard Muir is Deputy Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

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