Tourism in Yorkshire is now worth £9 billion

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Tourism in Yorkshire is now worth £9 billion

Welcome to Yorkshire has revealed that the value of tourism to the Yorkshire economy has grown to £9 billion per year.

The news, announced at its yearly tourism show Y19, comes as Welcome to Yorkshire revealed plans for a major consultation which will help shape its focus and strategy over the next 10 years. The thousand strong audience heard exclusive details from research by the Business School at Sheffield Hallam University, showing that the value of tourism has grown by £1billion in the 12 months from 2016-17, the latest year for which full figures are available.

Y19 marked exactly 10 years to the day since Welcome to Yorkshire was launched at the same venue, The Royal Armouries in Leeds. The show looked at how the county’s profile has grown over the last decade and announced exciting plans to continue that success story.

Peter Dodd, Commercial Director at Welcome to Yorkshire said ‘To have the tourism industry grow by £1billion in 12 months is fantastic news and everyone in the county should be incredibly proud of all the hard work that is being done to continue to raise Yorkshire’s profile.

Brand Yorkshire has never been stronger and together with our members, partners and everyone in the tourism industry we look forward to building on that success even more. Welcome to Yorkshire will continue to be bold, creative and ambitious to bring world class events to the region to underpin the vital lifeblood of grassroots tourism.’

The tourism body is determined to fully address the issues raised after the resignation of its Chief Executive last month and announced two independent investigations into behaviour and expenses concerns during Sir Gary Verity’s tenure.

At Y19, there was a big focus on Welcome to Yorkshire’s plans for the future and a number of major tourism announcements were made.

Yorkshire Sculpture International

It was announced that this summer Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI) will present seven major sculptures by Damien Hirst as part of the inaugural edition of the festival taking place across Leeds and Wakefield from 22 June until 29 September. Works will be shown outdoors in Leeds City Centre, at Leeds Art Gallery and at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The Turner Prize-winning artist, who grew up in Leeds, will show Hymn (1999–2005)and Anatomy of an Angel (2008) outdoors in Leeds City Centre and Black Sheep with Golden Horns (2009) at Leeds Art Gallery. Charity (2002–2003), Myth (2010), The Hat Makes the Man (2004–2007), and The Virgin Mother (2005–2006) will be shown at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP). The display of the two works in Leeds city centre will be supported by Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID) and Victoria Leeds.

Y19 Terry Foulds & Peter Dodd

Y19 Terry Foulds & Peter Dodd

Damien Hirst said: “I’m so happy to have my work in and around Leeds. When I was growing up in the city, the Leeds Art Gallery was my way into art. I never thought I’d ever be famous or considered important or anything like that, but seeing paintings by people like John Hoyland, Francis Bacon, Peter Blake and Eduardo Paolozzi – alongside the aquarium and natural history stuff in the City Museum – opened my mind to art. The things I saw made me so excited for what art could be. If people feel anything like that when they see my work, then that’s the greatest thing you can hope for as an artist, and it’s a double excitement for me that there’ll be sculptures in the town as well as the gallery.  The giant bronze sculptures at YSP are where they belong – they’re just made for that setting. I used to hang out a lot on Ilkley Moor and Otley Chevin, and I will always love the Yorkshire landscape.”

BBC Countryfile Live

TV star Anita Rani and celebrity chef Brian Turner both appeared on stage with more details on this summer’s huge BBC Countryfile Live event. Making its official Yorkshire debut from the 15th – 18th August it will be largest event ever to be staged at Castle Howard with over 60,000 visitors expected over the 4 days.

The show will occupy over 50 acres celebrating the glorious Yorkshire countryside and bringing popular features seen at the sister event at Blenheim Palace such as The Dog Lovers’ Arena, Village Green and Equine Arena to name a few.

Also at Castle Howard will be The Big Top which will play host to panels, talks, discussions and presentations from Countryfile presenters and other top BBC shows, The Lakeside Club, which is the VIP offering down by South Lake set against the beautiful backdrop of the stunning house and The Graze Inn, which is a traditional Yorkshire Fayre with curated poetry reading, live music and artisanal food producers

Pride of Yorkshire

There was a special Welcome to Yorkshire honour for Sheffield’s Tony Foulds. The 83-year-old won over the hearts of the not just the county but the nation when he campaigned for a flypast to honour the crew of a US airplane which crashed just feet away from him when he was a schoolboy during the war.

Tony believes the pilot saved the lives of him and his friends who were playing in Endcliffe Park by deliberately crashing the plane away from them. He has been tending to a memorial to the 10 US airmen for decades. He’s been recognised with a Pride of Yorkshire Award presented to him by Welcome to Yorkshire’s Commercial Director Peter Dodd.

Yorkshire Theatre

We also heard exclusive news from Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre which is back in York this summer for a second year. Theatrical Producer James Cundall from Lunchbox Productions confirmed that they will soon be flying the flag for their Yorkshire success story in the UK when they open a pop-up theatre at Blenheim Palace and internationally when they open another one in Manila. The audience also heard details of what’s coming up at theatres across Yorkshire with a specific focus on South Yorkshire with Dan Bates, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Garden designer Mark Gregory gave the audience an exclusive insight into what it’s like building a show garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Mark has designed Welcome to Yorkshire’s 10th garden which is inspired by the county’s rich industrial heritage and stunning canals and waterways for the world’s most prestigious flower show. He also gave details of the support being given to Welcome to Yorkshire by Canal & River Trust, including the gifting of two pairs of genuine lock gates that were once used on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Global Yorkshire

A huge year of sport was celebrated at the show, including world class cricket, the Tour de Yorkshire and UCI Road Championships. Cricket stars Tim Bresnan and Ryan Sidebottom discussed a great year for cricket in the county – as Yorkshire prepares to welcome the Ashes and also ICC World Cup. Emerald Headingley will host four World Cup matches in June and July and an Ashes Test Match between England and Australia in August.

Exclusive details were released by Andy Hindley, Chief Executive of Yorkshire 2019 of a route change at the para event that is taking place ahead of this year’s UCI Road World Championships. The Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International on 21st September will now pass through the centre of Knaresborough which previously wasn’t due to see any race action.


Official artist for the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire, Mackenzie Thorpe, used Y19 to reveal the first ever sculpture to be part of a collection for the race, titled ‘The Fastest.’  He said he was inspired by the speed and exhilaration of racing with the sculpture and accompanying print in the striking Tour de Yorkshire colours of blue and yellow. Alongside ‘The Fastest,’ Mackenzie unveiled two celebratory posters ‘Riders on the Storm’ and ‘Round the Bend’ completing the official collection, which was launched at his Richmond gallery in February.

Azuma Heads to Yorkshire

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) were the Official Conference Sponsor for Y19. Managing Director David Horne gave more details on the launch of the Azuma and the greatly improved service which will soon help to bring more tourists to Yorkshire with the biggest refresh of the East Coast line for 30 years. New Azuma trains will be rolled out from the 15th of May with London Kings Cross to Leeds being the first route for the new train. This means the fleet will increase from 45 to 65, there will be over 12,200 more seats on the most in-demand routes – meaning more great-value fares. The trains are a diesel-electric hybrid making them more resilient – leading to smoother, quieter and more reliable journeys.

Find more details on the latest tourism figures here:


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