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Coronavirus: Welcome to Yorkshire launches tourism recovery plan

Coronavirus: Welcome to Yorkshire launches tourism recovery plan

Published by Lisa Darvill at 6:05am 19th June 2020. (Updated at 6:45am 19th June 2020)

Welcome to Yorkshire has today released details of a recovery plan to ‘Reopen, Recover and Rebuild’ Yorkshire’s £9bn tourism economy.  

  • The plan includes campaigns to support economic growth 
  • It includes initiatives such as a Yorkshire Gift Card and a nationwide marketing campaign 
  • The tourism body is encouraging businesses, residents and visitors to work together 
  • Businesses are being encouraged to read more about the plan 

The tourism body has been working with the county’s local authorities, national parks, LEPs, many businesses and tourism representatives. It says the aim has been to preserve much-loved attractions, locations and businesses whilst keeping interest high in Yorkshire as a visitor destination.

As lockdown restrictions ease, some businesses have already opened their doors. Welcome to Yorkshire says it wants to make sure all organisations feel confident that they can offer a safe visitor and employee experience. 

The recovery plan focuses on some campaigns to support economic growth such as:

  • 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 tourism sector employs almost 225,000 people with many more in supply chain businesses. Welcome to Yorkshire says financial losses as a result of COVID-19 are expected to be well into the billions of pounds and it has written to central government on behalf of many small businesses such as B&B owners and hospitality providers.

Welcome to Yorkshire 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."

Welcome to Yorkshire 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."

With Welcome to Yorkshire says website traffic has increased considerably in recent months with 91% of all visitors to www.yorkshire.com in May coming from first-time visitors.  It says these results point towards a real optimism for day trips, weekend breaks and staycations across the region for the immediate future. 

Its encouraging all government and business representatives, as well as tourism organisations, visitors and residents, work together. Welcome to Yorkshire will be using the hashtag #YorkshireTogether to promote the initiative on social media. 

You can read more about the plan here