Welcome to Yorkshire Statement: Budget Provides a Positive Pathway for Yorkshire Tourism … but with some Hurdles & Challenges Ahead
Following Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s budget announcement, Welcome to Yorkshire’s Chief Executive James Mason said “Being presented with a long-term plan to assist the resurgence of tourism after a particularly turbulent year is a much-needed lifeline and a light at the end of the current lockdown tunnel. Government guidance and assistance for businesses and individuals, fits well with Welcome to Yorkshire’s Tourism Plan, alongside businesses and local authorities, to Reopen, Recover and Rebuild, this vital visitor and tourism sector as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis. However, there is lots to consider and digest, with certain challenges ahead for many.”
Positives include the extension of furlough which will be a relief for many employers and employees. The £700m made available for the arts, culture and sport will also be welcome as all have been hit particularly hard. Pubs, restaurants and other non-essential retail businesses should benefit as the business rates holiday continues for another three months, plus there will be a freeze on alcohol duty and no increase in income tax, VAT and national insurance.
Yorkshire will be part of eight regions selected to be freeports with the Humber and Teesside selected, plus confirmation of the first ever UK Infrastructure Bank based in Leeds to drive a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’.
Announcements of incentives for home-buyers, first-time property buyers and support for employment training and a boost for apprenticeships are all aligned with Welcome to Yorkshire’s promotion of the county as a place to live, study and work, as well as visit.
“There’s lots to look forward to and embrace, but crucial consideration should be given to many aspects of the road to tourism recovery in the weeks and months ahead and Welcome to Yorkshire will get behind and lobby for any areas which need important input and action,” James Mason added. “A six months extension of the business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will cease at a time when it’s needed most and tourism organisations enter a quieter season, this is when additional support will be critical. Plus it’s still uncertain if Government-backed insurance will be offered for the hospitality and events industries which are the backbone for tourism.”
Welcome to Yorkshire will continue to work closely with the county’s amazing attractions, brilliant businesses and local authorities to Reopen, Recover and Rebuild a tourism industry which pre-pandemic was worth £9bn to the county’s economy and employed almost 225,000 people.
It is now more important than ever to work together as #YorkshireTogether to surge forward and emerge successfully from current restrictions and to embrace the opportunities ahead, whilst supporting businesses, organisations and individuals during such challenging times.
Notes to editors:
- Pre-pandemic tourism in Yorkshire was worth a staggering £9 billion annually to the county’s economy, with the region’s tourism and hospitality industry employing almost 225,000 people. It is therefore important that Welcome to Yorkshire continues to successfully work with the tourism sector in what will be critical and challenging times ahead and that Government guidelines in the coming months are consistent and clear.
- Yorkshire has much to offer, including vibrant cities, a spectacular coastline, stunning countryside, tempting towns, astounding arts, fabulous food and delicious drink, as well as a wealth of history and heritage. Its abundant open spaces also means it’s a magnet for visitors wishing to make the most of a longed-for break to enjoy the great outdoors. The forecast for lockdown to lift and the limitations for overseas travel, means the thirst for staycations will be welcomed to kick-start the tourism and hospitality industry once more and encourage visits to attractions and locations, providing what will be a much-needed financial boost to this struggling sector.
- Welcome to Yorkshire has an annual social reach of circa 20 million engagements and a global brand reach of over 23 million.
- Welcome to Yorkshire is the official destination management organisation for Yorkshire, working to grow the county’s visitor economy.
- Welcome to Yorkshire is a not-for-profit membership organisation, funded in part by grants, sponsorship and Welcome to Yorkshire members. All money raised is reinvested directly back into promoting Yorkshire.