Destination Harrogate – August Update
by Gemma Rio, Head of Destination Harrogate
Collaboration is certainly the word of the moment as we continue to work closely with our colleagues from across North Yorkshire following the creation of the new North Yorkshire Council on 1st April.
And with collaboration comes opportunity.
We have already come together to host the first North Yorkshire stand at the Great Yorkshire Show in July. Creating a hub for potential visitors to plan their future days out and short breaks in the area. Alongside encouraging those visiting Harrogate to extend their stay or plan a return visit, we highlighted the attractions, events and experiences on offer across the county – from the Yorkshire Coast to the Yorkshire Dales.
This was the first step on the journey to creating a North Yorkshire tourism service that can put Harrogate and North Yorkshire in the spotlight through attendance at such events. Plans are already in motion to exhibit with UKinbound at the World Travel Market in London this November. The World Travel Market is the most influential travel and tourism event globally, bringing together over 35,000 travel trade professionals from 184 countries and providing a perfect platform to present our offer to an international audience.
I have always said that for a visitor economy to thrive and grow it requires a collaborative approach and a shared sense of direction. As we create a new Destination Management Plan (DMP) for North Yorkshire this is more important than ever. The input from tourism businesses across Harrogate and the surrounding area is crucial to this process. The visitor economy in Harrogate contributes £600million to our economy each year making it a significant contributor to the North Yorkshire visitor economy valued at more than £1.5billion. The vision outlined in the draft plan is “…to create a vibrant, thriving, year-round visitor destination; offering sustainable growth for the visitor economy coupled with significant opportunities to improve the current offer and develop new, meaningful experiences, events, and products.” For this to happen, and for the plan to make a difference it needs to be supported by many parties. We want our local visitor economy businesses to feel ownership of the plan, as well as reap the benefits of its output.
The draft DMP, which was produced following a series of consultation workshops, 1-1 discussions with key industry partners, an online survey and product audit, is now available to view on the North Yorkshire Council website. Businesses are encouraged to provide feedback on the plan via an online questionnaire. There are also workshops taking place throughout August to gather feedback, input and to fine-tune the plan. If you have missed the Harrogate and Ripon sessions, there are others taking place across North Yorkshire up until the 30th August.
Alongside the activity to come together as North Yorkshire, the Destination Harrogate team continues to work hard on our year-round programme of campaigns and projects, which all have collaboration and partnerships at their heart. There are opportunities to join us as a partner for our Health & Wellbeing campaign, sign up to our second Visit Harrogate Restaurant Week and get involved in our (award-winning) Christmas campaign.