EXMOOR is set for another economical boost this year after it was announced the South West stage of the Tour of Britain will pass through the area for the second year running.

Somerset County Council confirmed it would again host the South West route of the cycle race following the event's success last time out.

The competition will again venture through Exmoor National Park on September 9 - giving a timely boost to tourism and economy in the beauty spot.

Dan James, Exmoor National Park Authority's sustainable economy officer, said: "We're delighted that in 2008 the route will once again pass through the Exmoor National Park, allowing spectators and participants alike to experience the special qualities of the area and we're pleased to support this year's event with a grant from the Exmoor Sustainable Development Fund.

"Last year's race was a real boost for Exmoor, attracting widespread support from local schools and communities across the area and having a positive impact on the rural economy."

Although the final details of the race route are being kept secret until April 28, race organisers have admitted it will start in Chard before finishing in Burnham.

The Tour of Britain's technical director, Mick Bennett, added: "Somerset set a new standard for the event in 2007, when over 70,000 spectators flocked to watch the race at key points around Yeovil, Taunton and Exmoor."

He also said the South West stage was "the best day ever seen in British cycle racing" on a par with the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia.

Cllr Jill Shortland, county council leader, said: "The success of the first ever South West stage of the Tour of Britain exceeded our expectations and we are confident that the 2008 stage will be even better."