Visitors to Harrogate area

Celebrating a successful 2023 for the Harrogate Visitor Economy 

2023 saw another successful year for tourism in the Harrogate area of North Yorkshire. With the second year of Destination Harrogate activity drawing to a close, we wanted to share a round-up of achievements and evidence of growth from the last year.  

The latest figures compiled using STR Data show how tourism is having a positive effect on the local visitor economy: 

  • Hotel occupancy: 2023 = 78.7% (up just over 10% against 2022 = 71.3%)  
  • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): £73.55 (up just over 15% against 2022 = £63.64) 

Importantly, results also indicate that the business and leisure tourism sector has not only recovered but is making a greater contribution to the local economy than it was before the pandemic. Both figures are up on those from 2019.  Hotel occupancy is up by 2% and the revenue per available room is up by 33%.  

A busy year for Destination Harrogate  

Our second year as Destination Harrogate delivered a successful programme of marketing activities designed to attract visitors to the area. There has been a range of marketing activity across a mix of themed campaigns using a range of channels. This marketing activity aims to inspire visitors to book a holiday in the Harrogate area of North Yorkshire, encouraging them to stay longer and spend more.  

Social media activity reached nearly 2 million people, and 8 videos have been added to our YouTube channel, which has played 186 hours of content to potential visitors to the area.  

The Visit Harrogate website showcases the area through business listings, itineraries, blogs, and campaign pages. Last year the website, which features 377 business listings, achieved over 1 million visits.  Pages from  now appear in the top 3 for over 1900* of the most searched terms in Google. 

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Key campaign successes 

Our gardens campaign saw us bring our incredible horticultural outdoor spaces to new audiences: 

  • Over 1 million impressions through paid social media activity 
  • 50,000 impressions via digital advertising through Gardeners World 
  • 8,000 Gardens Guides printed and distributed at key locations 

Our Christmas campaign saw another successful year with the Harrogate Christmas Fayre o extended to three weeks for 2023.  The promotion of partner offers and events throughout the Harrogate area achieved: 

  • Nearly 2 million impressions through social media activity  
  • 20,000 printed guides distributed  
  • 200,000 impressions through Sky AdSmart TV campaign  

Our health and wellbeing campaign uses Harrogate’s spa heritage to position the area as a first-choice destination for short breaks to make people feel good. The campaign is still running, but highlights so far include: 

  • Outdoor advertising in key locations with 3,300,466 impressions in London Kings Cross alone 
  • Social media posted by influencers and key partners such as LNER reaching over 68,000 people to date  
  • Printed advertising including adverts and articles reaching 70,000 people per issue 

If that wasn’t enough, 2023 saw the launch of Restaurant Week in February and its return in October. This initiative takes place during traditionally quiet times for the hospitality sector to encourage people to try something new and support local businesses with set price menus and offers during the off-peak season.  

Looking to the future 

Last year saw our first outing as North Yorkshire at the Great Yorkshire Show and the announcement of our LVEP (Local Visitor Economy Partnership) accreditation as York and North Yorkshire alongside Make it York and the City of York Council. This year we are looking to build on this success and grow North Yorkshire’s visitor economy by working together with one voice.  

Whether you are a large attraction, event venue or a small business, you are a vital part of our destination and there are many ways you can be part of our continued work to spread the message that North Yorkshire is a first-class visitor destination. We need you to help us show the world why they should visit us in 2024 and beyond. Get in touch with us to find out more! 

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