A tourism recovery plan for Yorksire will include a nationwide marketing campaign designed to welcome visitors back to the county as lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

Welcome to Yorkshire, the county’s destination marketing organisation, has outlined key campaigns to support economic growth.

The tourism sector employs almost 225,000 people in the county with many more in supply chain businesses.

Financial losses due to Covid-19 are expected to hit billions of pounds and Welcome to Yorkshire has written to central government on behalf of many small businesses such as B&B owners and hospitality providers to highlight their plight.

The reopening process is well underway for some businesses but there is still uncertainty for other parts of the sector.

The recovery plan focuses on:

  1. A revised business membership with an entry level service offering free support and resources for anyone to sign up to.
  2. The launch of a Yorkshire Gift Card to encourage spend within the county.
  3. A focused regional support service for North, South, East and West Yorkshire.
  4. A nationwide marketing campaign to Welcome visitors Back to Yorkshire.
  5. The launch of a personal membership model to tap in to the millions of Yorkshire connections worldwide.
  6. A recovery task group will be formed to ensure delivery of the recovery plan.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive James Mason said “The team have worked really hard to keep Yorkshire at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

“We were challenged to make a case for the region’s tourism offer and it was one we took on gladly. We are all very passionate about our county that has suffered the effects of flooding in recent years and now this life-changing virus.

“Our recovery document has been created with short-term, midterm and long-term objectives to reflect the ever-changing times we are experiencing.

“It must be understood that we will continue to take an organic approach to the situation and have held regular webinars offering up to date practical advice. We are working together with public and private sector strategic partners to ensure that the best possible guidance and support is available to the industry.

“We are very much looking forward to gradually ‘Welcoming visitors BACK to Yorkshire’ when the time is right. This has to start with people on our doorsteps, then nationally and eventually internationally.

“We must bang the big drum to make sure people stop and think ‘We HAVE to visit Yorkshire’.

“We must also strive to support communities within the county to make sure their offer is attractive to new audiences with continual product development to encourage repeat visitors.”

Chair Peter Box added: “I am confident that our recovery plan will be a hugely important step forward in rebuilding a successful visitor experience, attracting tourists back to the county and playing its part in helping Yorkshire’s economy recover.”