York is told: ‘We’ve reached the end of tourism as we know it’

Simon Eyles, MD of Betty’s, Signe Jungersted from Wonderful Copenhagen and Paul Whiting, Head of Visit York. Photograph: Gareth Buddo
24 Jan 2019 @ 7.55 am
| Business

The great and the good from York’s tourist sector will be told today we’ve reached the “end of tourism as we know it”.

That message comes from Signe Jungerstad of Wonderful Copenhagen, the official tourism organisation for The Capital Region of Denmark.

She is the keynote speaker at the Visit York conference at York Racecourse today (Thursday, 24 January).

Signe will focus on the theme of ‘localhood’ and how today’s travellers want more than ever to connect with local people, local businesses and to discover more local stories.

Only in York

Tour guide Mad Alice at Grays Court Hotel – two of the attractions that are #onlyinYork. Photograph: Anthony Chappel-Ross
The theme for the conference is ‘Only in York’, York’s tourism marketing campaign for 2019, which will showcase all of the experiences which are truly unique to the city.

By focusing on things such as afternoon tea aboard the National Railway Museum’s Countess of York, or enjoying evensong at York Minster, Visit York aims to inspire new audiences to visit York in 2019.

Signe Jungerstad said:

  • Our cities have much in common; a vibrant cultural scene, world-class museums and a strong local pride for what’s on our doorstep.

    The travel industry is entering an era of change and it’s time to welcome the new traveller.

    What people want more and more is to connect with a place, get to know the locals and their personal recommendations.

Healthy figures

The Visit York HQ. Photograph: VisitYork.com
Figures revealed for the first time today, show that visits to attractions were up by 8% year on year – with a total of 3.4 million visits made to attractions in 2018 compared to 3.1 million visits in 2017.

Average hotel occupancy rates dipped by 3% year on year – from 80.5% to 77.5%.

However, 250 more rooms were added to York’s hotel bed stock last year and in total an additional 20,000 extra room nights were sold, year on year.

Room rates for York held strong at an average of £106 per night – on a par with the previous year.

High street footfall, measured by footfall monitors across the city, showed an increase of 2% year on year, at a total of 26 million.

Head of Visit York Paul Whiting said:

  • The new tourism figures are really encouraging and show that York is continuing to perform well.

    We’re especially delighted to see such a big increase in visits to attractions. Our strategy is to inspire our visitors to explore more of the city, stay longer and crucially keep coming back.

    It seems to be paying off but there’s always something new to learn and we’re looking forward to hearing from our line-up of expert speakers today.

Role of influencers

Photograph: USA-Reiseblogger / Pixabay
Head of global PR and influencer marketing at VisitBritain, Emma Mead, will share the national tourism perspective.

She is asking ‘Should your business embrace or avoid influencers?’ Research shows that more and more consumers make travel or buying decisions based on online recommendations by people with shared interests.

Emma will share her insights on working with travel influencers, determining if they are ‘right’ for your business, as well as setting and measuring goals.

Simon Eyles, Managing Director at Bettys will also speak at the conference. Bettys is one of Yorkshire’s most iconic and successful brands. Simon will share insight into the company’s brand and how it became successful.