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“We’ll rely upon it” – The importance of the Cheltenham Festival on Hospitality in the town

There is no doubt that the focus and attention of race week is firmly placed on the runners and riders that will take part across the four days of action.

However, the return of Cheltenham’s marquee event of the year brings with it an influx of commercial revenue that many of the city’s restaurants, bars and shops thrive from.

In 2022 the festival as a whole generated over £250 million pounds for Cheltenham’s ‘local economy’, according to survey collected by University of Gloucestershire students.

Last year’s races saw a an increase of the average money spent per person within the festival from £584 in 2016 to £697 in 2022.

Of course each year their are those in the community who have reasons to oppose the festival going ahead. Causing controversy over animal rights issues, litter problems and even those pedantic enough to complain about traffic. Although in spite of its issues, the races provide Cheltenham, the economic boost it’s service industry needs.

Earlier in the week I managed to catch up with race steward Ivo Wright to discuss why the races are so important to the community.

“It’s great for local business, they thrive massively over the next four days with obviously hundreds of people flooding in, said Wright.”

But not only does it bring financial benefits to the community but the Jockey Club its self.

“With the Jockey Club, you know 7.5% of their annual revenue is made up from Cheltenham making it the highest earning event of the year, he continued.”

(Read more from ParkLife Sport here)

Last year a record breaking 280,000 people were in attendance across the four days with around 300,000 expected this year.

And with the numbers beginning to role in across the last few days, business have already began to reap the rewards. Yesterday I spoke to former Sandford Ale House manager Jess Fraser who spoke about just how valuable race week can be.

“You can’t under estimate just how impactful it can be. Especially after the covid years it was massively important to keeping the place afloat.

“Obviously you do get a massive influx of people coming in so it can be a bit daunting, but really the end result is worth it,” she continued.

Having recently moved to new Mexican restaurant Cantina Del Barrio Fraser was clear that the festival really couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I mean we’ll do our biggest week all year over the next four five days.

“We’re a relatively new place and this can easily keep us going or give us a bit of security for the next few months. We’ll rely upon it.”

There is no doubt that the influence the festival yields over the town is huge and with this week set to be its biggest on record, that will once again be the case.

And with new campaigns such as ‘Love our Turf’ launched by the Jockey Club, it is set to bring the community relationship with the community, to an all time high.

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