A national marketing campaign and a Yorkshire gift card among the measures outlined today by Welcome to Yorkshire in its tourism sector recovery plan.
The agency says the aim of the Reopen, Recover and Rebuild plan is to preserve much-loved attractions, locations and businesses while keeping interest high in Yorkshire as a visitor destination.
The Reopen, Recover and Rebuild plan includes:
- 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.
Welcome to Yorkshire have 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.
“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 ee 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.”
Welcome to Yorkshire says it has had considerable success in promoting the county and raising the profile of Yorkshire over the last decade across the world, with a global brand reaching over 23m people and a social reach of almost 20m.
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 per cent of all visitors to 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.
The agency is urging government and business representatives, as well as tourism organisations, visitors and residents, to work together under the banner of #YorkshireTogether towards a successful tourism future.