York’s tourism body is expecting to lose more money than previously thought – but should make a profit next financial year, its boss said.
Make it York (MIY) managing director Sarah Loftus explained the cost of living crisis had hit the organisation, which had added to predicted costs such as keeping the tourist information centre open and helping to provide the Christmas lights.
The council-owned organisation is predicted to record a deficit of £63,500 by March 2023, nearly treble the previous prediction of £23,000, but financial reports show an estimated £97,000 profit in 2023/24.
An update report to City of York Council’s shareholder committee read: “Whilst recognising that the post-Covid world would be different, the road to recovery has been much slower than expected, MIY is confident it will once again become a fully going concern.”
MIY has had to be bailed out by the council in the past. Ms Loftus took over towards the end of last year after a string of controversies surrounding the organisation and has been praised for her work so far by council chiefs.
She said: “This year was always going to be tough and we’re having global issues layered on top of what would be a tough year for us. We’re managing this very tightly at the moment.
“We’ve been open and transparent because we’re estimating a higher deficit than we did in the business plan and that’s purely down to cost of living increases and some of the things that we didn’t perceive back in January.
“We have a few ideas on how we might bring that down.”
Smaller office plan
Moving to a smaller office would reduce costs “dramatically”, Ms Loftus said.
“We think that we’ve moved really a long way in terms of our governance and financial probity,” she added.
Giving an update of councillors on performance, the tourism chief said visitor spending was staying about the same despite a slight drop in overall numbers and that the organisation had had its best year for new memberships.
MIY has held seven major events since April and more are planned before Christmas.
Councillors on the shareholder committee agreed to let MIY recruit three new non-executive board members.