Record tourism figures were announced at Visit York’s annual Tourism Conference this morning, where two hundred businesses gathered to listen to an expert panel of speakers. The conference titled ‘Tourism Insights’, was hosted by BBC Radio York Presenter Adam Tomlinson and sponsored by Santander. Keynote speaker at the event, Senior Travel Editor of The Independent, Simon Calder, offered his personal views on how tourism businesses can increase revenue and be even more successful in 2014.
So far in 2013 visits to attractions are up by a record 16% (January-August 2013 v January-August 2012). Over 311,000 people have visited the Information Centre at 1 Museum Street since the beginning of the year and a record breaking 1.3 million people have visited the flagship centre since it opened in May 2010. Visit York is putting the good news down to effective marketing, the continuation of the staycation, and an array of new reasons to visit York.
Hotel room occupancy for the year so far is on a par with last year at 77.2%, higher than the national average (excluding London), and room rates are up by 2% to £76.54. Visits to the Visitor information Centre over the summer months (June, July and August) were up 9.2% year on year. The addition of new attractions and events such as the National Railway Museum’s Mallard 75, interest in Richard III at the Yorkshire Museum, the new attraction Revealing York Minster, the good weather over the summer and increased marketing activity have all had a strong impact.
Gillian Cruddas MBE, Chief Executive of Visit York, said, ‘York has put on more quality events, festivals and exhibitions than ever before. Our latest tourism figures demonstrate that visitors appreciate the huge variety of things to see and do here. I hope that the conference and our expert line up of speakers gives delegates valuable insights into the current tourism climate, inspiring them to ensure York’s tourism industry continues to flourish as we head into 2014.’
Maria Bota, Festival Director for The Grand Départ Cultural Festival in Yorkshire introduced delegates to plans for the first Cultural Festival that will run prior to and alongside the Grand Départ, taking place in the region next year. Sharon Orrell, Head of Research and Insight at VisitEngland also revealed key tourism trends at the conference and Kurt Janson, Policy Director at the Tourism Alliance, shared his tips on how businesses can make new government policy work for them.