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Cheltenham Festival 2022: The business of March extravaganza to the local area and the £100 million cash boom

After a two-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic the Cheltenham Festival has returned in 2022 with the inclusion of fans.

The four-day spectacle may put the horses at the centre of attention, but it is the local economy which also benefits from what is billed as the “greatest jump racing event in the world.”

According to a 2020 census Cheltenham has a population of 117,000 people. But the population briefly blooms to an estimated 367,000 people, with 60,000 plus people set to attend each day of the four-day festival.

For many local businesses, who were severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the Festival is a financial lifeline.

While the Cheltenham Festival starts in March, the road to the Festival begins five months earlier at the racecourse in October.

According to a study from the University of Gloucestershire, the Festival is worth £100 million to the local economy with restaurants, hotels and bars benefitting from the population boom.

“There is certainly a relief that it is back,” said Exmouth Arms employee Oscar Faierz. “The Cheltenham festival is one of the biggest weeks for pubs around here. A real relief it is back.

“The Festival is part of the culture of Cheltenham, if you could define the region with one thing it would be the races. I don’t know a single person who is from here who hasn’t been at least once in their life. It is such a special week, everybody looks forward to it.”

But while the restrictions regarding COVID-19 in the United Kingdom have relaxed, the effects of the pandemic are still affecting local businesses with finances not back to the pre-COVID numbers.

“To be honest, at the moment it has been quieter than we expected,” Faierz explained. “One of the calmer race weeks.
“But hopefully it will increase with Saint Patrick’s day and the Gold Cup on Friday.”

Whilst, COVID-19 has a lot to answer for in regards to the Cheltenham Festival interest in racing has never been higher. According to a recent study, Horse racing is now the UK’s second sport overtaking Rugby.

With that increase hopefully sees more interest in Cheltenham than ever before, and with that a much-needed cash increase to the local economy.

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