Working with the county’s local authorities, national parks, LEPs, many businesses and tourism representatives, Welcome to Yorkshire says it has taken on the challenge of aiding industry recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The body has been working on a plan to preserve our much-loved attractions, locations and businesses whilst keeping interest high in Yorkshire as a visitor destination.
Welcome to Yorkshire and partners believe that enabling organisations to feel confident that they can offer a safe visitor and employee experience is of paramount importance.
For some organisations the reopening process is well underway, where as for other parts of the sector there is still uncertainty - leading to the launch of Welcome to Yorkshire's ‘Reopen, Recover and Rebuild’ initiative.
The key campaigns to support economic growth will be:
- A revised business membership with an entry level service offering free support and resources for anyone to sign up to.
- The launch of a Yorkshire Gift Card to encourage spend within the county.
- A focused regional support service for North, South, East and West Yorkshire.
- A nationwide marketing campaign to Welcome visitors Back to Yorkshire.
- The launch of a personal membership model to tap in to the millions of Yorkshire connections worldwide.
- A recovery task group will be formed to ensure delivery of the recovery plan.
The Yorkshire tourism sector employs almost 225,000 people with many more in supply chain businesses.
Financial losses as a result of Covid-19 are expected to be well into the billions of pounds and Welcome to Yorkshire have written to central Government on behalf of many small businesses such as B&B owners and hospitality providers.
Chief Executive James Mason said: “The team have worked really hard to keep Yorkshire at the forefront of everyone’s minds. We were challenged to make a case for the region’s tourism offer and it was one we took on gladly.
"We are all very passionate about our county that has suffered the effects of flooding in recent years and now this life-changing virus.
"Our recovery document has been created with short-term, midterm and long-term objectives to reflect the ever-changing times we are experiencing. It must be understood that we will continue to take an organic approach to the situation and have held regular webinars offering up to date practical advice. We are working together with public and private sector strategic partners to ensure that the best possible guidance and support is available to the industry.
"We are very much looking forward to gradually welcoming visitors back to Yorkshire’ when the time is right. This has to start with people on our doorsteps, then nationally and eventually internationally.
"We must bang the big drum to make sure people stop and think ‘we have to visit Yorkshire’. We must also strive to support communities within the county to make sure their offer is attractive to new audiences with continual product development to encourage repeat visitors.”
Chair Peter Box added: “I am confident that our recovery plan will be a hugely important step forward in rebuilding a successful visitor experience, attracting tourists back to the county and playing its part in helping Yorkshire’s economy recover.”
Welcome to Yorkshire also announced its website traffic has increased considerably in recent months with 91% of all hits on www.yorkshire.com in May coming from first-time visitors.
In addition, the social media competition the ‘World Cup of Yorkshire’ has seen several million online engagements to keep iconic names and places at the top of visitors ‘must see’ lists.