Welcome to Yorkshire put into administration after losing backing of council leaders
Welcome to Yorkshire has been put into administration, it was revealed this afternoon (Tuesday).
The regional tourism body has lost the confidence of the leaders of Yorkshire councils, which provide vital funding.
It follows a turbulent time for the organisation. It admitted making “big mistakes” in the way it spent taxpayers’ money, including spending more than £430,000 removing and investigating its former chief executive, Sir Gary Verity following concerns over his expenses claims.
In recent years numerous Yorkshire councils authorities have threatened to withhold funding from WtY, at a time that its finances have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Yesterday the Yorkshire Leaders group – consisting of council leaders and the region’s two metro mayors – met in private to discuss WtY, after commissioning a £25K review in to its future.
They have chosen to pull the plug.
Chair of Welcome to Yorkshire Peter Box said: “The past three years have been incredibly difficult for board members and staff as we have endeavoured to deal with well-publicised legacy issues.
“These matters, coupled with the impact of Covid and the task of securing sufficient funding from the public and private sectors to place WtY on a sound financial footing, have made the situation increasingly challenging.
“The de Bois review of Destination Management Organisations could have created the opportunity for WtY to be given the structure and long-term funding required to move on, grow and develop into the organisation we believe it should be on behalf of Yorkshire and its people.
“Sadly, the decision of the Yorkshire Leaders not to commit to a multi-year funding package, whilst understandable, removed that pathway and means that WtY cannot continue in its present form.”
He paid tribute to all the “talented and dedicated professional staff who have continued to do remarkable work in the toughest of circumstances to promote Yorkshire’s many attractions to the world”.
He added: “It is my sincere hope that the public sector will recognise the value of a new regional Destination Management Organisation to build on the many achievements of WtY.
“This can offer our tourism industry the chance to move forward with a focused approach, deliver on regional priorities, and secure the best outcomes for everyone who visits, lives, works and studies in Yorkshire.”
Rob Adamson, Michael Kienlen and Daryl Warwick of Armstrong Watson LLP have been appointed as Joint Administrators of Welcome to Yorkshire on 1 March 2022.