New council aims to promote ‘global brand’ of North Yorkshire

A strategy to promote tourism and capitalise on world-famous heritage has been drawn up to drive forward North Yorkshire’s economy and support thousands of businesses.

The new North Yorkshire Council, which launches on 1 April, will be instrumental in providing a co-ordinated county-wide plan to promote the visitor economy, while also ensuring the industry is centred around environmentally-friendly business growth.

Tourism in North Yorkshire is worth £1.5bn a year in the spend from domestic visitors. It accounts for 11% of the county’s overall economy, and 41,200 workers are employed in the sector.

Council leader, Councillor Carl Les, who will assume the leadership of the new authority, said: “By having one council we can join up and strengthen North Yorkshire’s cultural offer, lobby for a greater share of funding for arts and culture here and support a year-round visitor economy.

“The new council will build on the globally recognised brand of North Yorkshire, advocating for the best possible opportunities for residents and businesses, while protecting and enhancing our landscapes and heritage.”

The new council will launch when North Yorkshire County Council and the existing seven district and borough authorities, which are currently responsible for promoting tourism, merge in the biggest shake-up of local government since 1974 to pave the way for a devolution deal.

A bid is due to be submitted for North Yorkshire to be home to a so-called Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP), which will involve both the private and public sectors and will need to follow a new national process to be eligible for funding from the Government.

The current destination management organisations in North Yorkshire are working on the project, pooling their knowledge to ensure the strongest possible proposal for a LVEP is submitted.

The new council will also be engaging with businesses, business networks and the leisure, culture and tourism sectors in the county in the coming weeks to help develop a strong partnership.

Other schemes which will be overseen by North Yorkshire Council include work on High Street Heritage Action Zones in Northallerton, Selby and Skipton.

These projects have unlocked more than £2m in funding from the Government via Historic England to deliver a range of heritage, art and community projects, including engaging with young people through a digital recreation of Selby Abbey using Minecraft and a community and heritage hub on Northallerton’s High Street.

Cllr Les added: “We want to strengthen our tourist and cultural offer, by ensuring there are year-round attractions, and increase visitor spend.

“North Yorkshire Council will have a strong voice and will work with the county’s six MPs to ensure that the Government understands and acts on the issues that affect residents and businesses here.

“Via devolution, we will have a real opportunity to lobby the Government to ensure North Yorkshire enjoys the benefits seen in urban areas, which have mayoral-led combined authorities.”