The AMGEN 2008 Stage 6 start Saturday morning on Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara
Paul Wellman

The annual Amgen Tour of California, an 8-day, 650-mile, multi-stage bicycle race, rolled through Santa Barbara for the third year in a row last month. And this week the Solvang and Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureaus announced that the tour had both long and short-term economic benefits for the county.

Its is estimated that tour participants and staff generated more than $81,000 in revenue for area hotels, with about 463 rooms rented per night in Solvang and about 276 in Santa Barbara. Thousands of race fans and media added to those numbers.

Tracy Farhad, Executive Director of the Solvang Bureau, said that cycling tourism creates an important market for the area. Solvang hosts many amateur bike races, making cycling tourism a year-round business. Farhad added that the tour reinforces Solvang’s reputation as a cycling Mecca. Several of the Amgen teams held their training camps in the area prior to the tour, bringing additional business to Solvang’s numerous restaurants and retailers.

In Santa Barbara, Kathy Janeda-Dykes, Executive Director of the Conference and Visitors Bureau, reported that visitors spent close to $90 a day on dining, shopping, and other activities. She remarked that Santa Barbara’s terrain of “beaches, mountains, valleys, and vineyards crossed with hundreds of miles of bike trails and cycling routes” are an ideal setting for the tour. Furthermore, the media coverage of the tour gives Santa Barbara global exposure, drawing interest for all sorts of tourism.

With an expanding base of cycling tourism bringing increased revenue and visitors to Santa Barbara County, local businesses agree they are eager to see the tour return next year.


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