Destination Harrogate – December Update

by John McGivern, Destination Events Manager

As I’m writing this I’m thinking of all the Christmas analogies under the sun, to describe what it has been like to work on such an amazing and collaborative project as Destination Christmas, which we launched to great success in Harrogate last Friday.

Would it be too cheesy to compare it to the massive team effort that Santa’s elves contribute to the sleigh-drop present delivery on Christmas Eve? Undoubtedly, but there are a few parallels – while it might be one man in a suit who gets the credit for pulling off a great result, it’s equally deserved by the folk beavering away behind the scenes, whom not everyone immediately thinks of but without whom the magic couldn’t happen.

Perhaps it could also be compared with cooking a Christmas dinner… timing is essential, and everything has to be planned down to the minutest detail – including allowing for all eventualities and being mindful of minor mishaps that might happen along the way. It might not be obvious to the hungry hordes awaiting something special, but crucial in the construction stage – and, if you get it right, the achievement of everything combined is greater than the sum of all the parts.

I could go on, of course, but after promising bigger and better for 2022, I really believe we have achieved that – through the amazing effort from everyone involved. Friday was an awesome launch day for Harrogate Christmas Fayre – which is at full trading capacity, and features a good proportion of traders from across Yorkshire as well as from Europe and further afield. That includes local business The Harrogate Hamper, who sell locally sourced luxury products from across the Harrogate district and North Yorkshire, and who are trading for free at the fayre after winning a competition. Seeing the fantastic festive attractions at the fayre and in Crescent Gardens being so well enjoyed, and by so many, is a joy that can be shared by everyone who’s worked so hard to get here.

In offering bigger and better, we’ve also provided great opportunities for local businesses to partner with us. In addition to our Christmas campaign partners, who’ve supported us in our objective for visitors to make the Harrogate district their Christmas destination, we’ve been supported by West Park Hotel and Coach & Horses pub in Harrogate, part of the Provenance Collection group. They have sponsored the train stops for the Candy Cane Express – the festive road train, co-funded by Harrogate BID. This partnership recognises the value of promoting our destination as a great place to visit for short breaks – we know that even just one extra overnight stay per visitor in the Harrogate district offers a great boost to our visitor economy, and we’ll be continuing to work towards this in 2023 and beyond.

It’s through the fantastic collaboration with all of our stakeholders, that the Christmas experience we’re providing is even stronger this year – and we can all look forward to a great festive season across the Harrogate district.

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