Strategic collaboration launched to boost regional tourism

Towns and cities across West Yorkshire have joined forces for a new strategic tourism partnership, intended to maximise the potential of the region’s visitor economy.

Today it was confirmed that a joint bid by councils in Leeds, Calderdale, Kirklees, Bradford and Wakefield to form a new Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) alongside West Yorkshire Combined Authority had been successful.

Currently, each of the five West Yorkshire districts manage tourism activity for the region’s 65 million annual visitors individually.

The new LVEP programme, developed and administered by VisitEngland, will see districts come together, sharing ideas and resources while they collaborate on ways to grow the visitor economy, attract more visitors and inward investment and create job opportunities across West Yorkshire.

The West Yorkshire LVEP will also be able to access expert advice, dedicated toolkits and training programmes as well as getting support for applications for important national funding.

Working with public and private sector partners, the West Yorkshire LVEP will hold regular meetings attended by representatives from each district.

They will be chaired by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, who said:  “I’m thrilled the rich heritage of our districts has been recognised in this way.

“Through this new partnership, we can drive forward West Yorkshire’s tourism offer and give the sector the vital support it needs.

“Combining our strengths to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire, we’re ready to show the world why it’s the place to be.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “We are pleased to have secured LVEP status and excited that we will now be working more closely with our neighbours so that together, we can showcase the very best West Yorkshire has to offer.

“Our region is a completely unique, vibrant and beautiful place which deserves an international spotlight.

“By working more collaboratively and sharing ideas, we can support each other in highlighting what makes our districts so remarkable individually whilst also collectively showing just how special West Yorkshire is as a region.”

Cllr Michelle Collins, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Our new tourism partnership is going to be right at the heart of work to attract visitors to our wonderful region.

“We’re excited that more and more people, both from this country and from abroad, are discovering all the diverse and special things which West Yorkshire has to offer.”

Cllr Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for towns, tourism and voluntary sector, said: “We’re thrilled to be part of this exciting new partnership.

“Calderdale has long seen the importance of its visitor economy and it has become increasingly important over the last few years in helping our economic recovery.”

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for healthy people and places, said: “Our region has so much to offer, from our stunning countryside to our cosmopolitan cities and fascinating heritage.

“So, working more collaboratively with our neighbouring districts can only maximise what we offer visitors, who are likely to cross over district boundaries.”

Cllr Naheed Mather, Kirklees Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, added: “This is great news for Kirklees and West Yorkshire.

“We know tourism brings opportunities for investment and growth which in turn helps us to further enhance our places for visitors and local people alike.”

The LVEP programme was launched last year after consultation following a government review of Destination Management Organisations across England.

An interim board has been appointed which includes key tourism partners across West Yorkshire who will help shape the future or tourism for the region.