Yorkshire in the Summer spotlight
The summer season got underway with a bumper crop of days off as Easter rolled into a Royal Wedding and to top it all we enjoyed some unseasonably hot weather. The end result? Potentially the best start to the tourist season in recent memory, which is great news for the thousands of small and medium sized businesses across Yorkshire that rely on tourism for their livelihood.
My job and the job of my team is to keep Yorkshire front of mind when people think about where to spend their time off so I was delighted to hear Harewood House had 20,000 people visit on one day, that the Yorkshire Sculpture Park recorded visitors numbers up 100% on April 2010 and that our beaches and seaside resorts were bustling. That means people were choosing to either stay in Yorkshire and do some exploring or choosing to visit Yorkshire and do some exploring. That is fantastic news for us and has no doubt been picked up by the Government due to the wide ranging press coverage we have generated on the back of the county’s good news.
The challenge now is to keep that momentum going and to not let this great start fizzle out. If we continue to get it right the potential rewards for us in Yorkshire are huge. The Government is committed to a target of 29% of Britons holidaying at home in the next few years, up from 20%. If they succeed then it will be worth an additional £1.3bn. We want the bulk of those additional bookings in Yorkshire and that should be incentive enough for businesses to join Welcome to Yorkshire as members. After all, with the backing and encouragement of Government, tourism will be one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors over the next decade and Yorkshire will be at the forefront of that growth.
It is an exciting time for tourism in our county; we have had the best start to the summer season in recent memory and if we all work hard at giving visitors, domestic and international, the best possible welcome to Yorkshire, 2011 could be the county’s best year yet… now there’s a challenge for Yorkshire Mafia members to rise to!