Visitors from across world bring £4 billion boost to economy

 A scenic view of Swaledale in North Yorkshire

New figures released today have revealed that tourism contributed more than £4 billion to North Yorkshire’s visitor economy last year, attracting in excess of 31 million people to sample the delights of the county.

The data highlights a strong outlook for the sector, as the summer holiday season gets underway with the average length of stay for visitors in North Yorkshire being four nights and surpassing the national average of 2.8 nights as recorded by Visit England.

The report also demonstrates how the local tourism industry supports 38,486 jobs through direct and indirect employment making up 13 per cent of all employment across North Yorkshire.

The figures have been collected for the first time on a county-wide scale using the STEAM model, which measures the economic impact of visits to an area. This provides an important baseline for the future growth of the sector.

Our council leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “The release of these new figures not only confirms the importance of tourism to our local economy, but it also provides a baseline to work from as we begin an exciting new journey for the visitor economy in North Yorkshire.

“The value of the visitor economy must not be underestimated which is why we have made it a priority for us. It supports tens of thousands of jobs and sees visitors come to the county from across the world, and we are committed to ensuring that the sector continues to grow.”

The release of the data comes as our newly established tourism service, Visit North Yorkshire, hosts a stand at the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate. The event, which is one of the UK’s largest agricultural shows, attracts 140,000 visitors over four days and runs until Friday.

The stand is themed around the outdoors, complementing a new destination marketing campaign, called “Find your Escape”, which is encouraging visitors to explore North Yorkshire’s gardens and outdoor spaces.

Cllr Les added: “The Great Yorkshire Show is just one example of activity that can attract visitors into the county. With more than 140,000 visitors attending, there is great opportunity to showcase our destination to this captive audience.

“The Visit North Yorkshire stand will do just that by providing useful information to showgoers about what they can see and do in the area with the objective of encouraging extended and return visits.

“We are extremely lucky to have so many wonderful tourism assets in North Yorkshire, from the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and towns including Harrogate, Scarborough and Whitby as well as a wide range of historical sites, cultural venues, outdoor experiences, a fantastic food and drink offer and a lively programme of events for visitors to enjoy.”

Reeth is a village situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park which offers spectacular scenery, culture and history and gives visitors a taste of rural life.

Simon Wright, who is the general manager at the Burgoyne Hotel in the village, said: “We have seen an increase in visitors coming here from home and abroad over the past year, and it is no wonder with so much on offer across North Yorkshire. People are truly spoilt for choice with things to see and do.

“Reeth itself is surrounded by stunning scenery and is an ideal base for those wanting to explore the broader dales and National Parks. For history lovers, there are abbeys, castles and other villages to discover. For those that like nature and the outdoors there’s hiking, cycling and walking on offer.

“It truly is an amazing county and no matter what the weather, North Yorkshire is breathtakingly beautiful in all seasons which is why people keep coming back here.”

Tourism businesses in York and North Yorkshire are already being given more support through a vision to help to ensure that the multi-billion pound visitor economy reaches its full potential.

It was announced in November last year that a joint bid for a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) for both York and North Yorkshire had been approved, paving the way for a far more co-ordinated and strategic approach to promoting the tourism sector.

LVEPs have been introduced as part of the national response to an independent review of how the country’s visitor economy is co-ordinated and promoted and have the potential to draw in additional support and funding from Westminster.

The partnership, which was approved by a panel involving the Visit England tourism organisation and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is aimed at ensuring that the greatest benefits are achieved for both York and North Yorkshire’s visitor economy.