Recovery plan update from James Mason, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire
When I joined Welcome to Yorkshire in January, I was very much looking forward to building on previous successes, working with the team, promoting this brilliant county, its vibrant cities, spectacular coastline, breathtaking countryside, delicious food and drink, award-winning arts and culture scene whilst showcasing Yorkshire across the globe and welcoming visitors to enjoy exciting world-class events.
But what I hadn’t expected was for a major health crisis to change the course of life for each and every one of us.
When a global crisis presents itself, how we react and the subsequent action is key. Our attention has turned to retaining, supporting and recovering Yorkshire’s tourism sector worth £9bn to the county’s economy which employs almost 225,000 people. Now more than ever it is important for us all to work together to support a safe and sustainable future tourism industry for the county.
In reaction to such unprecedented times, Welcome to Yorkshire is collaboratively working with the county’s tourism industry on a robust recovery plan, with the aim to support businesses and attractions to reopen, recover and rebuild for that ‘first day back’, whenever legally safe, ensuring organisations and attractions are prepared post-COVID-19. With a considered step by step plan of actions, the ultimate goal being to Welcome BACK to Yorkshire visitors from across the globe when the time is right.
Last Wednesday we hosted a second successive webinar to discuss what a recovery for Yorkshire needs to entail. We welcomed hundreds of online attendees and industry experts and with another planned for next week as we look to unveil a draft plan. All future webinar information can be viewed online here.
Welcome to Yorkshire have accepted the challenge to act as the conduit for the region’s crucial tourism resurgence, welcoming valuable input from a wide ranging panel of tourism representatives. The variety of problems faced by many further highlights the breadth, depth and complexity of putting a plan together that will satisfy all sectors of the visitor economy. However it was agreed that continued dialogue, the sharing of good practice and the idea of looking at ‘safe trial’ attractions and/or towns was the way forward as well as encouraging, planning for a longer tourism season. Under the banner of #YorkshireTogether we all need to accept any recovery will need to be via collaborative action.
The passion for tourism to succeed in Yorkshire is palpable and more prevalent than ever, with a successful recovery plan being the overall priority for all. There is a genuine combined thirst and eagerness to work together, to create confidence and provide a safe tourism experience for businesses, residents, workers and visitors throughout. Now we intend to enable people to turn words into actions by encouraging a combined effort with public and private service providers to enable this. Guidelines must be set so businesses can adhere to them with confidence.
Last week’s panel consisted of:
- Judith Blake - Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of the Core Cities Group
- Dan Bates - Sheffield Theatres
- Emily Moncuit – CBI Associate Regional Director, Yorkshire and the Humber
- Henri Murison - Northern Powerhouse
- Katy Duke – CEO The Deep, Hull
- Nicky Chance-Thompson DL - The Piece Hall Trust
- Sir Thomas Ingilby – Ripley Castle Estate and Chairman Yorkshire's Great Houses, Castles and Gardens
- Sue Nelson - Yorkshire Food Finder
- Susan Briggs – The Tourism Network
- Wayne Topley - Cedar Court Hotels
A huge interest in the meeting was testament to the significance of the tourism sector and the part it plays in Yorkshire. With hundreds of people registering to be included and the full meeting recorded and shared in video format.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s recovery plan will be ready for consultation imminently following further input from partner organisations.
The team at Welcome to Yorkshire are working together to promote and support the tourism sector now with many different initiatives online to benefit a wide range of organisations.
This Is Y Digital Magazine
You may be familiar with the annual This Is Y magazine, thousands of copies are distributed regionally, nationally, internationally, with a broadsheet newspaper and online.
Now for the first time ever Welcome to Yorkshire also produces a monthly online This Is Y magazine, reacting to the current coronavirus situation, to entertain readers, as well as promoting Yorkshire tourism businesses, plus all that’s wonderful about this great county. This is a very difficult time for so many attractions, producers, restaurants, visitor locations etc and we are trying to do everything that we can to support and showcase this amazing place for when things get back to normal and we can welcome visitors again. The magazine is full of inspiring features and celebrity interviews, with links and information to hundreds of Yorkshire businesses and attractions, as well as hints and tips on how to help people through these unprecedented times, with the Business As Unusual section highlighting the innovative and inspiring ways the people of Yorkshire have adapted businesses during current times.
The Best of Yorkshire – We Can Voucher for That is just one way in which Welcome to Yorkshire is supporting and promoting members. We have created an online page with links to brilliant businesses and lovely locations, to encourage the purchase of vouchers for people to buy as gifts for fabulous friends and loved ones, enabling receivers to have an exciting experience or tasteful treat to look forward to and an opportunity to support Yorkshire’s tourism industry now. BOOK IT. BANK IT. ENJOY IT.
World Cup of Yorkshire
World Cup of Yorkshire is another fun and engaging way to celebrate the best that Yorkshire has to offer, giving people the chance to vote for their favourite Iconic Building (congratulations to The Piece Hall in Halifax), Restaurants (Shibden Mill Inn, another Calderdale favourite), Natural Landmarks (the stunning Malham Cove) and Family Fun (Cannon Hall Farm).
World Cup of Yorkshire has so far had:
- 128 businesses featured
- 120,000 votes
- 2.7m impressions
Look out for more World Cup of Yorkshire action on Twitter @Welcome2Yorks
Yorkshire Days In
With many still self-isolating and restrictions on people visiting their favourite restaurants, attractions and shops, Welcome to Yorkshire have created Yorkshire Days In online. Working with all your favourite places to provide a place packed full of ideas and inspiration on what you can do at home. This could be recipes to cook, books to read, film and TV to watch or even how to create your own science experiment! Updates and new information is being added all the time. So check it out.
Yorkshire Days has had:
- Over 100 businesses featured
- 25,000 page views
There are also some new exciting Welcome to Yorkshire initiatives coming up:
Welcome to Yorkshire are looking at the opportunity to launch a free business membership to offer support across the whole county. Any organisation will be able to sign up and access WTY’s business resources, tool kits, newsletters and access to expertise. The existing membership model with paid for benefits will remain for now although at present all paying members can enjoy a three month payment freeze.
Plus based on various agencies and business owner feedback, Welcome to Yorkshire have announced that a Yorkshire Gift Card will be introduced, so that a marketing campaign to capitalise on the desire for people to shop local, buy local and commit to local, hotels and service providers attractions can be accessed, plus allowing the global diaspora of people connected with the county to support Yorkshire businesses.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s annual social reach is almost 20 million so please keep informed and get involved as #YorkshireTogether
Remember that we’re all in this together with a common goal to reopen, recover and rebuild Yorkshire’s tourism industry.
Imagine now and explore later.
Welcome to Yorkshire