New: Destination Harrogate launched to boost district's visitor economy

Destination Harrogate has been officially launched today as the new destination management organisation (DMO) for the whole Harrogate district.

By Graham Chalmers
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 9:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 9:32 am
Harrogate Borough Council’s chief executive Wallace Sampson, head of Destination Harrogate Gemma Rio and commercial director of Newby Hall and destination management plan advisory panel member Stuart Gill.
Harrogate Borough Council’s chief executive Wallace Sampson, head of Destination Harrogate Gemma Rio and commercial director of Newby Hall and destination management plan advisory panel member Stuart Gill.

Together with partners, Destination Harrogate will showcase Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Nidderdale AONB, Pateley Bridge and the city of Ripon to attract visitors, events and investment to create a strong local economy for businesses and residents.

The role of the new DMO will be to provide comprehensive information for leisure and business visitors, create marketing campaigns and content, develop new opportunities and be the champions for what each of the district’s destinations – and the area as a whole – has to offer as a place to live, work, meet and visit.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

The work of Destination Harrogate will be delivered under four core streams.

1. Visit Harrogate is the existing consumer-facing tourism brand encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more.

2. The newly-launched events bureau Events Harrogate will position the Harrogate district as a first choice destination to host a conference, exhibition, meeting or event.

3. Invest Harrogate will continue to drive inward investment into the area and promote the district as an attractive place for business growth.

4. Culture Harrogate will operate the Mercer Art Gallery; the Royal Pump Room Museum; Knaresborough Castle and Museum; Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough tourist information centres; and care for the 30,000 objects that make up Harrogate’s collection.

Gemma Rio, head of Destination Harrogate, said: “The success of any new organisation relies on a solid strategy and a successful destination requires a shared vision.

"This is why we have developed the 2022-2025 Destination Management Plan (DMP) for the Harrogate district, working closely with a panel of stakeholders from across the area’s visitor economy.

“We have developed the DMP with the views, contributions, interviews and survey results from a wide range of people and businesses that already have a direct input into the success of our visitor economy.

"They have given their time, ideas and suggestions so that the DMP is a meaningful document, with the shared vision to continue to develop a successful and growing visitor economy.

“Tourism plays an important part in a thriving economy with the visitor economy making up 14.3 per cent of the total economy of the Harrogate district worth more than £600million a year, supporting almost 8,000 jobs.

“The DMP outlines our plan to increase leisure and business visitors, and support inward investment.

"A destination must be distinctive, attractive and well managed and we have developed this plan to set out the vision, priorities and actions we, as a destination, need to put in place to make Harrogate district a first choice destination.”

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, drawing on the district’s rich spa heritage and accessibility to the great outdoors 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. This will include a year-round festival, conference and events programme to drive the visitor economy and sustainable growth.

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

Stuart Gill, commercial director of Newby Hall and destination management plan advisory panel member, said: “This destination management plan is the result of collaboration and the shared vision of some key players that make up our district’s vibrant visitor economy.

“The district is made up of many parts, each with their own strengths and identity. The plan recognises that working together with colleagues at Destination Harrogate and with members of the DMP advisory panel will ensure the district reaches its true potential as a driver of sustainable economic growth.”

To find out more about Destination Harrogate visit:

www.destinationharrogate.co.uk