A new partnership designed to boost the visitor economy in York and North Yorkshire has got the go ahead.
Tourism businesses in the area will be given more support after a bid for a Local Visitor Economy Partnership was successful.
Tourism is worth around £3.2 billion each year in York and North Yorkshire, and more than 60,000 workers are employed in the sector.
The partnership comes 18 months after former tourism board Welcome To Yorkshire collapsed into administration following an expenses scandal and the Covid pandemic.
The new body is designed to create “a far more co-ordinated and strategic approach to promoting the tourism sector” and will “have the potential to draw in additional support and funding from Westminster”.
Destinations including the coast, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors, Harrogate and market towns, are due to be supported through the proposed LVEP.
A draft destination management plan and proposed tourism strategy for North Yorkshire overseen by Make It York formed the foundations for the bid. These will now be considered by councillors.
The York Tourism Advisory Board is currently developing the city’s new tourism strategy alongside Make It York, City of York Council and the York BID.
The board’s chair, Brendan Paddison, who is also associate dean at York St John University, said: “Achieving LVEP status is a brilliant outcome for York and North Yorkshire.
“This will support Make It York and City of York Council to continue to position York as a leading destination, and working with North Yorkshire Council and the new mayoral combined authority, to advocate for the importance of tourism to the city and region together.”
City of York Council leader, Cllr Claire Douglas, said: “Our amazing range of independent businesses and SMEs within the tourism and hospitality sector provide unique services and experiences for visitors, along with a huge range of flexible and interesting roles for people working in the industry.
“We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in North Yorkshire to develop this essential industry for our region, to provide as much support as we can to help it grow sustainably, build more resilience and deliver improved pay, terms and conditions and productivity for its workforce.”
North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “This announcement marks a watershed in the way we can help promote the visitor economy in both York and North Yorkshire.”
VisitEngland’s director, Andrew Stokes, chaired the LVEP panel that agreed the bid.
He said: “There is an incredibly diverse visitor economy in York and North Yorkshire, with wonderful coastlines, incredible National Parks and some of the best towns and cities that England has to offer and this new LVEP will ensure the region continues to be a compelling destination for both domestic and international visitors.”
LVEPs involve both the private and public sectors and will need to follow a new national process to be eligible for support and potential funding from the government.
It is hoped a new promotional drive will ensure visitors stay for longer and explore more of what York and North Yorkshire have to offer, while attracting more people to travel from overseas.
The announcement of the LVEP is the latest indication of an increasingly close working relationship between City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council.
It comes with the prospect of a devolution deal and a combined authority coming closer.