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Nick Hill

Welcome to Yorkshire Chair announces retirement

Clare Morrow, is set to retire from her role as the Welcome to Yorkshire Chair after seven years at the helm of the award-winning organisation’s board.

Appointed to the Board in 2008, Clare was tasked to oversee a project to modernise the image of Yorkshire, increase confidence in the brand and significantly raise the county’s profile nationally and internationally.

Not long after working with the former Yorkshire Tourist Board, the organisation recruited Gary Verity as the chief executive and rebranded itself as Welcome to Yorkshire.

Following a series of high profile promotional campaigns, including ‘A long weekend in Yorkshire isn’t long enough’, the organisation’s work was credited with helping to increase the economic value of Yorkshire’s tourism industry from £6.3bn to over £7bn within the first two years of the rebrand.

Welcome to Yorkshire also spearheaded the bid to bring the Grand Départ of the Tour de France to Yorkshire and the tourism agency played a significant role in delivering what Tour de France organisers have described as ‘the grandest ever Grand Départ’, which included a 100-day cultural festival as well as a spectacular opening ceremony.

Four million spectators lined the route and hundreds of communities came together to create a carnival atmosphere to welcome the world to Yorkshire. The economic impact of the event has been valued at £102m.

Clare Morrow said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to lead Welcome to Yorkshire over seven very successful years. When I took over the role I was set the challenge of changing the way people perceived Yorkshire and I think we have achieved that. Pictures of a confident Yorkshire, with warm and friendly people and stunning scenery, were beamed across the globe last July and left the world in no doubt that we are a vibrant place with much to offer to the world.

“This is just the beginning though. It has taken seven years to achieve something of a breakthrough and now the challenge is to find ways to keep Yorkshire’s profile as high as it can be over the next ten to fifteen years to ensure that we create a permanent change in how we are seen by the rest of the world. I know that the brilliant team at Welcome to Yorkshire will continue to astonish us in finding ways to do just that and my successor has a great opportunity to lead a world class organisation which is making a real difference to the economic fortunes of Yorkshire.”

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, added: “We could not have wished for a better Chair at Welcome to Yorkshire than Clare. The unprecedented success the organisation and the sector has enjoyed in recent times has happened on her watch. I know she will be missed by the whole team and the Board, and from a personal point of view, I shall miss working with her and her wise counsel and encouragement.”

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