County’s global reputation will help to entice more visitors

Destinations in North Yorkshire that are famed around the globe will be the foundations for enticing more visitors to the county under a pioneering strategy that is being developed.

North Yorkshire already has an enviable reputation for its visitor economy due to a wide range of cultural attractions from historic stately homes to centuries-old castles and ancient monuments.

The county also has a succession of popular destinations, including the coast, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the famous spa town of Harrogate.

The first countywide plan is being developed to promote the industry and to help to attract an increasingly diverse range of visitors.

The strategy is set to capitalise on the strong brand North Yorkshire already possesses and use world-renowned destinations as anchor locations to allow visitors to explore more of the county.

North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “We are in a hugely fortunate position that North Yorkshire has among the most recognisable destinations in the country.

“To have places such as the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and towns including Harrogate, Scarborough and Whitby all in one county is an amazing asset for the visitor economy.

“We want to make sure that these popular destinations continue to thrive and grow, but they also play such an important role in ensuring visitors get to sample more of North Yorkshire while they are here.

“The new destination management plan will be an important means of ensuring that the visitor economy, which is such an important part of North Yorkshire’s overall economy, is developed in the coming years.”

Castle Howard with a fountain in the foreground

Castle Howard and Atlas Fountain

Castle Howard is one of the North of England’s grandest stately homes and had 266,370 visitors last year, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

The property, which dates from 1699 and lies within the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is famous as a location for films and television shows, including Brideshead Revisited and Bridgerton.

Castle Howard’s director of marketing and visitors, Abbi Ollive, said: “We have a great deal of pride in knowing just how treasured Castle Howard is for people in Yorkshire, as well as from around the world and we see visitors from across the globe coming here every year.

“The chance to have a countywide strategy is such a wonderful opportunity to build on the success story that is North Yorkshire’s visitor economy.”

A draft of the destination management plan is due to be considered by councillors later this year, while a bid is set to be submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Support in September for North Yorkshire to become a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP).

The LVEP is set to involve both the private and public sectors and would need to follow a new national process to be eligible for support and potential funding from the Government.

The countywide strategy is being developed following the launch of North Yorkshire Council on April 1, and the authority is engaging with businesses, business networks and the leisure, culture and tourism sectors across the county to help develop a strong partnership.

It will work alongside a new regional partnership which was established last year to promote the visitor economy across the whole of Yorkshire, and which has already garnered widespread political support.

Carl Les and Derek Bastiman at the Great Yorkshire Show

Carl Les and Derek Bastiman at the Great Yorkshire Show

The region-wide partnership has representatives from councils across Yorkshire and is aiming to provide a co-ordinated approach to enhancing the visitor economy, with North Yorkshire a key element in the plans.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for the visitor economy, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: “We are keen to ensure that the county is at the forefront of the region’s overall visitor economy. We will continue to work with colleagues across Yorkshire to ensure that is the case.

“The collaborative approach will mean that the whole of the region will benefit with more people visiting different parts of Yorkshire, and hopefully returning again to explore more of what is such a wonderful part of the country that we can all be immensely proud of.”

Tourism in North Yorkshire is worth £1.5 billion a year from domestic visitors. It accounts for 11 per cent of the county’s economy, and 41,200 workers are employed in the sector.

The destination management plan will aim to promote a year-round visitor economy and investigate ways of addressing skills shortages and increasing wages as workers in the sector have traditionally had lower salaries.

For instance, the new strategy is aiming to capitalise on the designation of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks as an International Dark Skies Reserve in December 2020 to bring more visitors to the county during the traditionally quieter autumn and winter months.

The Scarborough Fair Festivals will stage the first ever Winter Lights Festival this winter in a bid to draw more visitors to the coast.