Destination Harrogate turns one with big boost to the visitor economy

As Destination Harrogate turns one, and to kick off English Tourism Week (17 – 26 March), we are delighted to announce new figures that show the tourism and conference sector is making a greater contribution to the local economy than it was before the pandemic.

Our latest data, compiled using the STEAM model, confirms that during 2022 visitors to Harrogate, Ripon, Knaresborough, Pateley Bridge, Masham and Boroughbridge spent more, and stayed longer than in 2019.

In 2022 the contribution of visitors to the local economy was valued at £637m, compared to £606m in 2019.

The average length of visitor stay to the district in 2022 was up to 3.5 days (from 3.3) and contributed to an increase in economic impact of 5.1% for the visitor economy, exceeding the annual target of 4% from the 2022-2025 Destination Management Plan (DMP) launched last year.

The average length of stay across England for the same period was 3.3 days, meaning at 3.5 days Harrogate district continues to exceed the national average as a visitor destination for the short domestic getaway or staycation.  View our full infographic.

An Active Year for Destination Harrogate

In our first year Destination Harrogate delivered a programme of activities designed to bring more visitors to the district.

Our Health and Wellbeing Campaign, ‘A Place to Feel Good Since 1571’, was a key priority in the DMP launched last year.  The campaign uses the Harrogate district’s distinct spa heritage to position the area as a first-choice destination for the restorative short break today.  The campaign focuses on physical and mental well-being of all kinds, targeting higher-spending audiences and inspiring them to stay longer.

Other activities this year included the first Visit Harrogate Restaurant Week, which saw the normally quiet February period become a  busy time in the district for dining out at our many fantastic restaurants and Restaurant Week will return for a second run later this year.

Destination Christmas’ saw another successful year with an expanded festive offer that not only featured the Harrogate Christmas Fayre, but included the popular road train, fairground rides and for the first time an Ice Rink in the centre of Harrogate throughout the festive period.  We showcased the distinctive December-long Christmas offers in Ripon and Knaresborough, as well as highlighting the many great events taking place across the district.

Our Gardens campaign ‘See How Our Gardens Grow’ saw us bring the incredible horticultural offer within the area to new audiences through video and influencer content, a new outdoor cinema at the Harrogate Flower Show displayed new films designed to inspire visitors to return for longer.  Our gardens campaign will return next month and digital packages are still available.

We organised special events for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and shared all the events taking place from Masham to Boroughbridge and everywhere in between via the Visit Harrogate website – and were delighted to bring back the Harrogate Carnival for 2022 in July.

For the first time Visit Harrogate hosted partners at our own stand at the Great Yorkshire Show creating our own ‘Feel Good Place’ for people to relax at the heart of Britain’s largest and busiest agricultural show.

View our 2022 at-a-glance infographic by clicking below


Building on our success

Last summer Destination Harrogate was shortlisted in City Nation Place’s Global Place Brand Award alongside international destinations such as Fiji, Puerto Rico and Copenhagen.  We also won the Tourism Category at the Harrogate Business Excellence Awards for our work improving the district’s value as a tourism destination.

That was year one, and so onwards to year two!  Find out how you can get involved and be a part of the visitor experience in Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Ripon.

Whether you are a large multi-faceted attraction and event venue, or a small high street business YOU are a vital part of your destination and there is a way you can be part of our message.  This starts by being part of what visitors see when looking at which is at the very top of results when people search the internet.

We need to you to help us show the world why they should visit us this year.  Find out more!

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