A new year and a new name for an expanded DMO for the Harrogate district.  As we adopt our new name and brand Gemma Rio, Head of Destination Harrogate, shares her thoughts and ambitions for our organisation and the year to come.


The turn of a New Year brings hope and optimism, and though some uncertainty remains as we head in to 2022, I’m certain that it will be an exciting year for Harrogate District as we launch a new Destination Management Organisation (DMO), Destination Harrogate.

Destination Harrogate will build on the work of Visit Harrogate, while broadening its scope to attract business events, leisure events and inward investment.

Our purpose is simple.

Together with our partners, we showcase the Harrogate District to attract visitors, events and investment to create a strong local economy for businesses and residents.

At the heart of everything we do is collaboration. We are proud to work in partnership with local people, businesses and organisations who have a shared passion and stake in the prosperity of this special place. The greatest example of this was seen very recently as we rolled out our Destination Christmas campaign – the biggest Christmas campaign in Visit Harrogate history. This campaign simply would not have been possible without collaboration.

Destination Christmas saw Destination Harrogate, Harrogate Borough Council, Marketplace Europe, Harrogate BID, LNER, Harrogate International Festivals, Little Bird Artisan Markets, Stockeld Park, Fountains Abbey, Turkish Baths, Swinton Estate, Rudding Park, The Crown Hotel and many more, work together to ensure this campaign pulled in visitors from far and wide.

So what’s next for Destination Harrogate?

Have you come across the Thomas Edison quote, ‘Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning’?

Well, we firmly believe that Harrogate District’s visitor economy is filled with opportunity – and all that is missing is the plan. With this in mind, we are in the process of writing a Destination Management Plan (DMP) for Harrogate District. A DMP is essentially a roadmap that will take Harrogate District from where we are to where we want to be.

In order to decide where we want to be and how we’re going to get there, we spent many hours in 2021 speaking with the people, businesses and organisations that have an impact on the success of Harrogate District’s visitor economy. These thoughts and ideas have been fed into the developing Destination Management Plan that we intend to complete in the next couple of months. Watch this space…

With the success of the Destination Christmas campaign fresh in our memories, we are already planning our next major campaign for Harrogate District. Our biggest campaign of 2022 will position Harrogate District as a first choice Health & Wellbeing destination, capitalising on our District’s fascinating spa heritage.

Since 1571, people have flocked to Harrogate because of its water and spa experience. After Queen Elizabeth I’s personal physician recommended Harrogate’s waters for their medicinal properties, wealthy visitors travelled from far and wide to ‘take the waters’.  (Top tip: Don’t miss the Mercer Art Gallery’s new exhibition ‘Dive in’ if you’d like to learn more about how Harrogate has been shaped by its legendary waters!)

Today, with ever more focus on wellbeing, what has become clear is that wellbeing means something different to everyone. To some, it’s a relaxing visit to a luxury spa; to others, it’s an evening of laughter at the theatre. A bracing walk in the Nidderdale AONB may cure ailments in some, but for others, a meal with a loved one in one of Harrogate’s independent restaurants is just the trick. In every sense, health and wellbeing is Harrogate’s business, and this campaign is our opportunity to shout it from the rooftops.

The Destination Management Plan and Health & Wellbeing Campaign are just two of the many projects the Destination Harrogate team are working on. To find out more or get involved, head to destinationharrogate.co.uk and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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