Tour de Yorkshire.
Nick Hill

Where is the newest tourism hotspot in the UK?

There are many burgeoning sectors being established across Yorkshire.

The Sheffield City Region, for instance, is a huge proponent for innovation and engineering developments, which is why the area is well on its way to becoming a centre of advanced manufacturing excellence. In addition, the city of Leeds has also emerged as the newest safe haven for digital technology companies and startups.

One sector, however, has been a long-standing cornerstone of Yorkshire’s economy and 2018 is set to be its biggest year yet! - Tourism.

Recently released research, compiled by Sheffield Hallam University, revealed that tourism is now worth £8bn to the Yorkshire economy. This figure is a 14% increase since the last report in 2011 when tourism was worth £7bn.

As this report was released mid-March, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight how the tourism sector in the region has continued to grow and why anyone making future trips to Yorkshire will not be disappointed.

One of the biggest successes the region has seen in recent years is the Tour de Yorkshire, which was first launched in May 2015 following the success of the visit of the 2014 Tour de France to the county.

Last year’s race, which took place from 28-30 April, reportedly boosted the economy by almost £64m and saw a record 2.2 million spectators line the route across the county. In addition, the race was televised in 180 countries and watched by 9.7 million TV viewers across Eurosport and ITV4.

Although the Tour de Yorkshire has been a three day event for the last three years, the success of the 2017 event has prompted its organisers to expand this year’s race to four days starting on Thursday 3th May to Sunday 6th. This year’s extended race will undoubtedly set another spectator record and provide a significant cash injection into the county’s economy.

Speaking of upcoming developments, I also want to showcase the recent launch of Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s masterplan to create an ‘Aerotropolis’. The 20-year plan details how the airport’s 1600-acre site, known as Aero Centre Yorkshire, will become the central hub.

The ‘airport city’ is expected to create 73,000 new jobs for the Sheffield City Region and provide advanced manufacturing, logistics and aviation-led opportunities. It is anticipated that this project would deliver £3.2bn GVA per year by 2048 across the region. Regional tourism would be boosted, not only by an expanded airport, but with the expansion and construction of major attractions close to the airport.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport has also recently announced the launch of a long haul flight with routes going to and from Sanford, Florida.

Furthermore, Welcome to Yorkshire recently unveiled multi-million-pound marketing campaigns to boost tourism in the region, which will see the county promoted both domestically and globally.

Over the next 10 years, £5m is being spent to promote the North York Moors, £1m of that will be spent over the next 18 months. A campaign will soon begin with adverts in cinemas, radio and on TV as well as in titles such as Cycling Weekly, Marie Claire and Woman and Home.

An additional £1m has also been pledged from the Discover England Fund, led by Visit England, to promote Yorkshire as a top cycling holiday destination in Europe.

Welcome to Yorkshire will also be creating bookable tourism products to target travellers in Germany and the Netherlands.

Another brand new campaign has been launched, in partnership with Bradford Council, to showcase Bradford’s food and drink scene through new trails, food offers and reviews by a wide range of writers and bloggers.

A tourism sector worth £8bn shows that Yorkshire is quickly becoming a national, if not international, destination to visit!

Although I’ve only mentioned a few recent tourist developments above, Yorkshire will continue to attract strong visitor numbers each year due to a variety of national parks, historic landmarks, bustling retail markets and numerous leisure/entertainment developments.

This is why the campaign work by organisations such as Welcome to Yorkshire, and the investment and expansion of the region’s airports such as DSA will play a major role in seeing Yorkshire become a truly global visitor destination.

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