The regional promotional board has attacked VisitEngland after Visit York and Marketing Leeds were handed money from the Regional Growth Fund, while Welcome to Yorkshire has received none after being told it “was not a destination”. It compared its situation to Cumbria, Northumberland and Cornwall which have all received government funding from an entire region.
“While we’re pleased they’ve found about £500,000 each for Visit York and Marketing Leeds to promote two of our great cities, they’ve consistently told us that there won’t be money for Welcome to Yorkshire to support Yorkshire as a whole because we’re not a destination,” the board said in its recent newsletter. “Try telling that to the thousands of visitors who choose to holiday in Yorkshire every year, or the many tourism businesses who know how important the Yorkshire brand is in helping them to attract visitors.”
Tourism in Yorkshire has already been boosted from £5.9 billion to £7 billion in recent years and the board has spent 18 months lobbying for marketing funding alongside other destinations in the UK.
VisitEngland said it recognised the tourism offered in Yorkshire and the work of its team but said it could not work with every tourism company on every campaign. VisitEngland and Welcome to Yorkshire have previously worked on the GREAT 2012 television campaign and media visits to drum up interest. It also outlined that the money from the EU under the Regional Growth Fund, which W2Y had made a statement about, was for a specific cause and had partnered the board for future projects.
“The Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is not a tourism specific source of money but was created to stimulate the economy in areas of need and to create jobs at the local level. In developing this successful funding bid VisitEngland has therefore worked with local destinations, as dictated by the aims of the fund, laid down by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and reflected in both the title and ambition of this particular programme, “Growing Tourism Locally”,” explained VisitEngland in a statement.
“It is unfortunate that the funding stream for RGF which is set up to support growth at the local level appears to have become confused with VisitEngland’s overall approach to tourism. Be assured that we do recognise Welcome to Yorkshire as the tourism marketing body responsible for promoting Yorkshire. Be further assured we continue to seek out funding opportunities to support both tourism growth and the activities of organisations across England to facilitate and support that growth.”