Welcome to Yorkshire placed in administration after funding withdrawn

Welcome to Yorkshire at Fan Zone Harrogate in 2019. The organisation collapsed last year. Photo: Jennifer Petrie.

Tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire (WtY) has been places in administration, it has been announced today.

The announcement comes after the leaders of Yorkshire councils decided at a meeting yesterday not to provide more funding for WtY.

The Yorkshire Leaders Board – made up of council leaders and metro mayors from across Yorkshire including Richmondshire District Council  – unanimously agreed that a new approach was needed to the marketing of the Yorkshire region.

That decision follows years of problems for the organisation surrounding funding and investigations into the behaviour of former chief executive Gary Verity.

The WtY board made the announcement following its own meeting yesterday.

Peter Box, chair of the tourism agency, said in a statement: “It was with deep regret that last night the board of Welcome to Yorkshire (WtY) took the decision to place the organisation into administration.

“The past three years have been incredibly difficult for board members and staff as we have endeavoured to deal with well-publicised legacy issues.

“These matters, coupled with the impact of Covid and the task of securing sufficient funding from the public and private sectors to place WtY on a sound financial footing, have made the situation increasingly challenging.

“The de Bois review of Destination Management Organisations could have created the opportunity for WtY to be given the structure and long-term funding required to move on, grow and develop into the organisation we believe it should be on behalf of Yorkshire and its people.

“Sadly, the decision of the Yorkshire leaders not to commit to a multi-year funding package, whilst understandable, removed that pathway and means that WtY cannot continue in its present form.

“Most importantly, I want to pay tribute to the team of talented and dedicated professional staff who have continued to do remarkable work in the toughest of circumstances to promote Yorkshire’s many attractions to the world.  I offer my heartfelt thanks and wish them well in their future careers.

“I must also place on record my gratitude to those board members who have remained with WtY, working selflessly in a collective effort to save the organisation from closure.

“It is my sincere hope that the public sector will recognise the value of a new regional destination management organisation to build on the many achievements of WtY.

“This can offer our tourism industry the chance to move forward with a focused approach, deliver on regional priorities, and secure the best outcomes for everyone who visits, lives, works and studies in Yorkshire.”

The tourism agency has been responsible for bringing the Tour de France Grand Depart to Richmondshire, as well as stages of the Tour de Yorkshire.

The decision by the council leaders to withdraw funding decision follows the recommendation of an independent review to look at the structure and function of destination management and marketing across the region commissioned by the Leaders Board in November 2021, as well as private sector views gathered by Welcome to Yorkshire.

Yorkshire’s local and combined authorities said they had agreed to “further engage with businesses to develop an organisation that will meet the needs of both public and private sector clients and bring wider benefit to the region”.

Leaders will meet again in May to agree the timeline for the establishment of the new organisation.

Co-chair of the Yorkshire Leaders Board, Cllr Stephen Houghton, who is leader of Barnsley Council, said: “Every district, borough and county in Yorkshire benefits from tourism. The industry, and the communities that rely on it, deserve our support, in particular as we continue to recover from the effects of a global pandemic over the last two years.

“Welcome to Yorkshire has played a pivotal role over the last decade, enabling us to bring high profile sporting events and investment to the region, and showcasing our talent and diverse offer.

“But a lot has changed and, following consideration of the views of our public and private sector stakeholders on the current arrangements, we have unanimously agreed that a new approach is needed.

“We all agree that our visitor economy needs a champion, and we will now speak further to our stakeholders to ensure we have an organisation with a clear purpose, that works for all, and is sustainable for the future.”

Rob Adamson, Michael Kienlen and Daryl Warwick of Armstrong Watson LLP have been appointed as joint administrators of Welcome to Yorkshire.

WtY said the administrators intended to trade the company for a period of time whilst they finalise a strategy to secure the best possible result for the creditors of the company.

All queries should be directed via email to WelcometoYorkshire@armstrongwatson.co.uk

3 Comments

  1. How did they manage to spend £430,000 investigating and removing the previous CEO ???
    That’s an incredible figure which should be investigated
    Who authorised it and controlled it?
    After all that didn’t Verify pay some of his “misclaimed
    ” expenses back – but no action seemed to be taken against him – why after spending nearly half a million pounds investigating him
    what a total fiasco and a huge waste of taxpayers money

  2. About time this unit was abolished. Its taken the senior members of the council a long time to realise they were being taken for a ride. I hope they publish how much money the Richmond Shire and North Yorkshire Councils have lost through their ineptitude. All the wasted funds could have been used for care in the community.

  3. Sounds to me like there’s an opportunity for the people of Yorkshire to create an organisation that is co-op built and run by the people / businesses for the businesses of Yorkshire.

Comments are closed.