The official launch of Destination Harrogate and our new Destination Management Plan took place on 15 March 2022.
Stakeholders from across the district’s visitor attractions, accommodation and experiences gathered at the magnificent and iconic Ripley Castle to join the Destination Harrogate team in celebrating the beginning of an exciting journey for the DMO.
Together with partners, Destination Harrogate showcases Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Nidderdale AONB, Pateley Bridge and the city of Ripon to attract visitors, events and investment to create a strong local economy for businesses and residents of Harrogate district.
The event also saw the launch of the district’s newly-developed Destination Management Plan (DMP), developed through close work with a panel of stakeholders from across the area’s visitor economy. Gemma Rio, Head of Destination Harrogate, presented the key priorities of the plan and introduced the four core work steams that will deliver the strategy:
- Visit Harrogate is the existing consumer-facing tourism brand encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more.
- The newly-launched events bureau Events Harrogate will position the Harrogate district as a first choice destination to host a conference, exhibition, meeting or event.
- Invest Harrogate will continue to drive inward investment into the area and promote the district as an attractive place for business growth.
- Culture Harrogate will operate the Mercer Art Gallery, the Royal Pump Room Museum, Knaresborough Castle & Museum, Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough Tourist Information Centres, and care for the 30,000 objects that make up Harrogate’s collection.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Gemma Rio said: “Tourism is recognised as one of Harrogate district’s most important assets, with the visitor economy making up 14.3 per cent of the total economy of the district, worth more than £600million a year pre-pandemic and supporting almost 8,000 jobs.
“The DMP outlines our plan to increase leisure and business visitors, and support inward investment. We have developed this plan to set out the vision, priorities and actions we, as a destination, need to put in place to make Harrogate district a first-choice destination.”
- Priority one will position Harrogate district as a first choice health and wellbeing destination, drawing on the district’s rich spa heritage and accessibility to the great outdoors to attract high-spending domestic and international visitors.
- Priority two will position Harrogate district as a first-choice events destination by attracting, hosting and delivering exceptional events. This will include a year-round festival, conference and events programme to drive the visitor economy and sustainable growth.
- The third priority is responsible tourism, working with partners to develop a responsible tourism strategy in order to be recognised by 2030 as a destination that is conscious of, and conscientious about, green travel and sustainable tourism.
The event also saw the launch of the new Destination Harrogate video, Celebrating Destination Harrogate, which celebrates Harrogate District as a wonderful, exciting and appealing place to visit, work, live and invest.