Destination Harrogate's vision of a visitor economy worth £835 million annually by 2030

Harrogate Borough Council’s decision-making executive has approved Destination Harrogate's new Destination Management Plan (DMP) which includes an ambitious plan to achieve the long-term vision of a visitor economy worth around £835million per annum by 2030.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 11:58 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 12:04 pm
Destination Harrogate shares the long-term vision of a visitor economy worth around £835 million per annum by 2030, partly through Harrogate Convention Centre.
Destination Harrogate shares the long-term vision of a visitor economy worth around £835 million per annum by 2030, partly through Harrogate Convention Centre.

Destination Harrogate, the new Destination Management Organisation established by Harrogate Borough Council, has developed a three-year DMP to position the Harrogate district as a first choice destination for tourism, large-scale events and investment.

The visitor economy makes up 14.3 per cent of the economy in Harrogate district and tourism plays a significant role in helping to ensure this thrives.

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The DMP outlines Destination Harrogate's exciting plans to attract more visitors, events and investors to the area following the Covid-19 pandemic and build upon 2021's staycation success.

Coun Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "The visitor economy plays a huge role locally, underpinning 8,000 jobs and bringing £600million in to our economy. Without it our district would be a very different place with fewer shops, businesses and job opportunities.

"That is why it is important that we seek to grow the visitor economy.

"As well as attracting visitors to enjoy all that we have to offer, a thriving visitor economy enhances and maintains quality-of-life for local residents and makes Harrogate district a more attractive place to visit and invest.

"For a visitor economy to continue to thrive and grow, it requires a collaborative approach, strong leadership and a shared sense of direction.

"This plan is the culmination of a number of interviews and surveys provided by people and businesses that have a direct input into the success of our visitor economy and who have shared their ideas and suggestions to take us forward."

The newly-formed Destination Harrogate team, together with partners, will showcase the Harrogate district to attract visitors, events and investment to create a strong local economy for businesses and residents.

Gemma Rio, head of Destination Harrogate, said: "Key stakeholders from visitor attractions and restaurants, independent hotels, conference venues and event organisers from across the district have contributed towards the shared goals of our ambitious plan to achieve the long-term vision of a visitor economy worth around £835million per annum by 2030."

The DMP outlines three main priorities to achieve this vision. Priority one is to position Harrogate district as a first choice health and wellbeing destination, able to attract high spending domestic and international visitors.

Priority two will position Harrogate district as a first-choice events destination by attracting, hosting and delivering exceptional events.

Events are a significant visitor driver, attracting people from far and wide to spend in the area's venues, hotels, visitor attractions, bars and restaurants. A year-round festival, conference and events programme will ensure a lift in the visitor economy and enable sustainable growth.

Responsible tourism is the third priority. As we become more conscious of and conscientious about green travel and sustainable tourism, the DMO will work with partners to develop a responsible tourism strategy in order to be recognised as a destination for responsible tourism by 2030.

In doing so, the DMO intends to minimise the negative environmental and social impacts of tourism, and enhance the economic and cultural benefits for visitors, businesses, and residents.

Gemma Rio said: "To attract business and investment, a destination must be distinctive, attractive and well managed and we have developed this Destination Management Plan (DMP) to set out the vision, priorities and actions, we – as a destination – need to put in place to meet that vision.

"We cannot undertake this task alone and a Destination Management Plan Advisory Panel was setup to ensure that the DMP captured the thoughts, ideas and experiences of a broad mix of individuals and businesses associated with the visitor economy."