OPINION: The months ahead are crucial for tourism - James Mason, Welcome to Yorkshire

There are always plenty of exciting options to explore and enjoy in and around Harrogate, at whatever time of the year, a picturesque town offering astounding arts, fascinating history and heritage, word-class accommodation, fabulous food and drink, plus so much more. Surrounded by breathtaking countryside with Yorkshire’s fantastic cities and impressive coastline easily accessible for day trips, Harrogate has it all.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 5:35 pm
James Mason - Chief Executive - Welcome to Yorkshire
James Mason - Chief Executive - Welcome to Yorkshire

With overseas travel looking uncertain for the foreseeable future and lockdown restrictions easing, the months ahead are crucial for tourism in the county, after a particularly turbulent time, for a sector which pre-pandemic was worth a staggering £9bn to the county’s economy and employed almost 225,000 people.

Recent weeks have seen a real increase in interest for people visiting and holidaying in the county and for domestic holidays at large, as many hospitality venues are seeing a real positive increase in bookings throughout the summer and beyond. So it’s incredibly important that visitors and holidaymakers stay safe at all times following Government guidelines, to ensure an enjoyable stay and a much-needed boost for all. As a county we can proudly say we have one of the highest numbers of businesses registered to the UK’s nationwide safety scheme ‘We’re Good to Go’. We commend the resilience and agility of our Yorkshire tourism organisations, adapting their operations and being invested in new inventory and training to ensure the health and safety of not just the guests at every point of the journey, but equally important, all their team members.

Welcome to Yorkshire is working with the county’s brilliant businesses and amazing attractions across the county to encourage positive practice for all to feel safe, including teaming up with the TUC in a poster campaign to promote proper ventilation at hospitality venues and attractions by keeping windows open at tourism locations, as research shows that allowing effective air circulation is a key factor to keeping staff and customers virus free. Just one of many initiatives to instil confidence as the sector reopens, recovers and rebuilds. https://industry.yorkshire.com/covid-19-business-support/business-toolkits/tuc-and-wty-posters

Welcome to Yorkshire’s website yorkshire.com is packed with inspirational information to encourage visitors to make the most of a magnitude of options in Harrogate and across all corners of the county. Our Walkshire campaign, launched on New Year’s Day, offers a walk for every day of the year to make the most of the great outdoors, whether opting for a stroll in a picturesque park or a ramble on routes across sprawling spectacular countryside, to an urban adventure in the cities and towns, there’s something for everyone at walkshire.com. Encouraging escapism to the seven cities of the county, easily accessible from Harrogate, is also being showcased as part of the Welcome to Yorkshire... Yorkshire Northern Cities.. promotion funded by VisitBritain which is part of their national campaign ‘Escape the Everyday’. Focussing on Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Ripon, Sheffield, Wakefield and York, the digital initiative on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram stories, is linked to VisitBritain’s booking channel TXGB with initial figures already showing excellent engagement with an online reach of almost a million, plus almost two and a half million impressions, and continuing to rise. https://www.yorkshire.com/inspiration/escape-the-everyday.

Whilst the future will undoubtably continue to present challenges across the tourism sector as a result of the international pandemic, there is also optimism as we work together to guide and advise, as well as to promote the county, as being the perfect place to visit, live, work and study, as part of Welcome to Yorkshire’s ongoing strategy.