Ten things we learned from York’s tourism conference

16 Nov 2012 @ 4.56 pm
| Business
Four of the Visit York's conference speakers: (clockwise from top left): chair of Visit York Lady Gibson; chief executive Gillian Cruddas; digital journalist Steve Keenan; and Babylon Restaurant manager Peter Avis

The great and the good of York’s tourism industry gathered at York Racecourse for Visit York’s annual conference. Some had enjoyed a great year, others not so good.

Here are ten things we learned from the event.

1 The new chairman of Visit York Jane Lady Gibson has a lot of questions. And she wants answers. Among them are “What do you want to tell the world about York to encourage visitors?” and “How do we attract more young people to York?” Answers to Visit York.

2 Some attractions have done better than others. Visitor numbers to the Yorkshire Museum went up by three per cent this year, and to the Yorkshire Air Museum, by 18 per cent, Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, told delegates.

3 Some Olympic media did leave London. US national broadcaster NBC filmed in York twice during the Olympics, and Gillian also appeared on Norwegian telly promoting our Viking heritage.

4 There are two city anniversaries to put in your diary. It is the 60th anniversary of Harry Martindale witnessing a ghost Roman legion marching through Treasurer’s House in 2013, and 75 years since Mallard broke the world speed record for steam locomotives.

5 There are new themes for tourism in York next year. These will be run in conjunction with Visit England and have the titles Romantic Heritage and Hair-raising Histories.

6 Our tourist trade is heading to Parliament. The initiative, called From York Minster to Westminster, will involve city MP Hugh Bayley.

7 Visit York have got to tweak their new website. Although it looks good, the home page has a musical slide show which begins automatically, which is a definite no-no. It made Gillian Cruddas jump halfway through her presentation and it will expose anyone sneakily planning a break to York from their office desk.

8 People like us. According to the stats produced by Sharon Orrell, Visit England’s head of research and insight, York scores above the UK average in almost all categories among tourists.

9 But they like Liverpool better. The city of the Beatles apparently offers a warmer welcome than the city of Eric Bloodaxe.

10 York needs more moving pictures. According to Steve Keenan, the former online travel editor of The Times, we don’t promote ourselves well enough on YouTube. But he did praise the city council’s new film Undressing The Viking (you can read an interview with the director here).