The Visit Harrogate column with Mike Newby
There are now fewer than 50 days before the Tour de Yorkshire arrives in the Harrogate District (29 April) and events are beginning to emerge as communities and businesses organise themselves to celebrate the not one, but two races, that will take place.
Visit Harrogate is producing a guide to the day, highlighting good places to view the races and where there will be events and entertainment along the route.
Look out for it in your local TIC or distribution points throughout the region.
Although we have now put the print guide to bed there is still an opportunity to make sure that your TdY event gets some coverage by putting it on the Visit Harrogate website.
Visitors (and residents) will no doubt be looking for extra things to entertain themselves in between the races and over the weekend. If you would like to find out more about just what is happening there is just one Welcome to Yorkshire Roadshow in the District left before the event.
This will be at the Studfold Activity Centre in Lofthouse (HG3 5SG) on Thursday 23 March with a prompt 6pm start. The Tour will also be the main focus at the next Harrogate Chamber meeting on Monday 13 March. Details can be found at the Chamber’s website (www.harrogatechamber.co.uk).
Encouraging more visitors
As I write this column our new mini-guides for the District are being printed and should be available for the traditional start to the local tourism season: the Literature Exchange Day at Thirsk on Tuesday 14 March. The 2016 guides proved to be very popular with very few of the 180,000 print run left. We are expecting this year’s to be just as popular.
The beginning of the year has been a very busy one for the team at Visit Harrogate, putting together not only the mini-guides but also the Tour de Yorkshire spectator guide and our 2017 follow up to last year’s very popular Gardens Guide. The first two months of this year have also seen record numbers of hits on the Visit Harrogate website reflecting an ever increasing interest in what the District has to offer.
Not only have we recorded the busiest January and February ever but there has been a record number of hits over the last 12 months with over 675,000 visits and more than two million page views.
English Tourism Week
Whilst the Exchange Day at Thirsk is a sign that the local tourism season is gearing up the national start is English Tourism Week which runs from 25 March to 2 April.
This is a week-long celebration of the quality and vibrancy of the thriving English Tourism industry. If you are a visitor facing business please let us know what you are doing by adding it to the events section of the Visit Harrogate website.
There are about 20 things to see or do so far – don’t let your activities miss out. If, on the other hand, you are looking for something to do, or have visitors coming to stay and are at a loss at what to do with them, why not have a look at the website? There should be plenty to inspire you.
l This will be my last Visit Harrogate column as I move on from the organisation. I must take this opportunity to thank the team at VH who really do punch above their weight in promoting the District. It has been a pleasure working with them.