Yorkshire Tourism – An update from Tourism Society Yorkshire chairman, John Gallery

As many colleagues will know, the destination marketing organisation (DMO) for Yorkshire, Welcome to Yorkshire, was placed into administration at the end of March 2022.

 

The lead up to this was the loss of two chief executives in three years for a variety of reasons, reductions in operational capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reduced income from both membership attrition and loss of financial support of several local authorities. The final decision to place the organisation into administration was made when the leaders of the local authorities decided not to continue to support the organisation following their own, so far unpublished, report about the organisation. The leaders announced that they would look toward an alternative organisation in future, of which we await news.

 

During its final three months I joined its board on the unfortunately impossible mission of trying to find ways to save it. It was too late, but I did spend that period undertaking a wide-ranging study with the industry that identified what people wanted from the DMO. I also reviewed a similar study undertaken by our colleague Susan Briggs and an earlier study by Qa Research.

 

What emerges from all of these is that there is demand for a regional body that can harness the needs of each of the different areas of such a large region as Yorkshire.

 

So, this leaves Yorkshire without a regional DMO currently and, since the administration, the assets of Welcome to Yorkshire have been sold to Robin Scott who runs a Manchester-based business called Silicon Dales and who has stated that he will be setting up a new version of Welcome to Yorkshire and reviving the Tour de Yorkshire. We await more news….

 

Meanwhile, several people in the industry in Yorkshire have come together to get the conversation moving to try to find the next way forward and hopefully will find ways of working with the local authorities. In April 2023, all North Yorkshire local authorities will be moving to unitary authority status. Seven local bodies including North Yorkshire County Council will become one combined authority for North Yorkshire.

 

Nick De Bois’ report of his review of DMO’s and recommendations is in the background of all of this with no formal announcement by government about adopting his recommendations.

 

It will be interesting to see what emerges…

 

John Gallery, 21st June 2022

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