North Yorkshire County Council pledges to attract visitors to Scarborough's 'tourism gems' this summer

A concerted effort to attract waves of visitors to Scarborough to capitalise on the surge of domestic holidays has been pledged by the leader of North Yorkshire County Council.

By George Buksmann
Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:10 pm

Last year witnessed a boom in so-called staycations amid the uncertainty of overseas travel due to restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Holidaymakers face a critical time in the run-up to the main summer tourism season with the start of the school holidays amid the cost of living crisis which has dramatically impacted on disposable incomes.

The allure of overseas travel has also been called into question amid the chaotic scenes at the nation's airports due to staffing shortages with thousands of flights being cancelled at short notice.

The authority has pledged to help draw visitors to the Yorkshire Coast.

The county council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, has highlighted the huge range of destinations that are on offer in North Yorkshire, ranging from remote rural getaways to some of the country’s most picturesque seaside resorts.

However, Cllr Les stressed that this summer represented a prime opportunity for the domestic market to ensure long-term loyalty is built among holidaymakers.

He said: “We have a wealth of tourism destinations in North Yorkshire that is hard to surpass anywhere else in the country, and for that we should be truly grateful.

“We have two National Parks covering the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors as well as some of the country’s most treasured seaside towns including Scarborough, Whitby and Filey, and this summer is an opportunity to ensure that we can bring in holidaymakers who can experience the wonderful places which North Yorkshire has to offer.

Scarborough's peak summer tourism season begins in August with the break-up of schools.

“However, we have to be mindful that finances are a concern for so many people, and especially if we want holidaymakers to consider returning to North Yorkshire again in the future.

“To ensure that a long-term and sustainable vision for tourism is achievable not just for North Yorkshire but the whole region, then value for money and the best experience possible must be at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”

The latest data from Visit England has shown that a third of people questioned in a survey last month anticipate they will take more overnight trips in the UK during the next 12 months compared to the previous year.

Tourism marketing for the region is itself at a cross-roads after Welcome to Yorkshire was placed into administration in March when council leaders decided to stop funding the organisation.

The tourism and hospitality sector plays a vital role in Scarborough's local economy.

Entrepreneur Robin Scott has bought the Welcome to Yorkshire brand, although it is thought that his marketing efforts for the region will be largely focused online.

Cllr Les, who was previously a board member for the original version of Welcome to Yorkshire, said council leaders had held positive discussions with Mr Scott about his plans.

Council leaders are also continuing to investigate the potential for establishing a new tourism body for the region, which was a concept that was originally mooted after Welcome to Yorkshire was placed into administration.

A decision on creating a new destination management organisation for Yorkshire is expected to be made by council leaders later this year, potentially in the autumn.

Susan Briggs, the director of the Yorkshire-based Tourism Network, works with more than a thousand businesses across North Yorkshire and is helping them to attract visitors back after the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said: “The tourism market has obviously had a tough time throughout the pandemic, with the repeated lockdowns meaning that many businesses simply had to close for months on end.

“Fuel price increases mean that many visitors are taking a fresh look at the destinations on their doorstep. We are seeing alot of people from within Yorkshire booking places to stay within the region. North Yorkshire is the golden destination as there is so much on offer from rural getaways to city breaks and holidays on the coast.

"Our aim is to also make sure that local communities and businesses benefit directly from the visitor economy, attracting visitors who want to buy local products and enjoy activities without travelling too far.”

Mrs Briggs also highlighted the fact that many attractions and accommodation providers in North Yorkshire are smaller, independent enterprises and are not part of major national chains, meaning they have greater autonomy over how much they charge visitors.

She added: “A lot of businesses in the tourism sector have tried hard to keep their price rises to a minimum, even with operating costs increasing.

“This can only be a good thing amid the cost of living crisis. Our businesses really value the loyalty of regular visitors.

“Hopefully visitors to North Yorkshire will see just what is on offer and think about returning again year after year, as this will build momentum for what is such an important industry for the region’s economy.”

Tourism in the Yorkshire region is worth £9bn a year, and 224,000 workers are employed in the sector.