Yorkshire will make history this summer when the county takes part in the Tour de France for the first time ever as part of a major international promotion.
The news came as tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire announced a series of high profile marketing campaigns at the Y 13 tourism conference at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
The agency confirmed it will have six specially branded Yorkshire convertible cars with giant revolving Ys placed in this summer’s Tour de France publicity caravan which precedes the actual riders – and will be seen by millions of people lining the 3,600km route.
Almost 1,000 people attended the tourism event which also culminated in the introduction of around 100 of the first Le Tour Makers – next year’s Yorkshire Grand Depart equivalent of Olympic Gamesmakers.
They were played onto stage by Yorkshire singer/songwriter Alistair Griffin who released a track with the Gamesmakers last year, and welcomed by Paralympian legend Hannah Cockcroft.
Other plans unveiled at the Y13 event at West Yorkshire Playhouse included:
• A new national TV and cinema advert promoting the best of the county, including the newly launched Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle which aims to make Yorkshire the European capital of sculpture and grow tourism
• A cycling themed entry to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show – the tourism agency’s gardens have won awards for the last three straight years, including a Gold in 2012
• A groundbreaking deal with Yorkshire-based company Seabrook which will see Welcome to Yorkshire tourism branding become part of the artwork on around 8m crisp packets a month
• A series of seasonal guides starting this spring, in partnership with English Heritage
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:
Yorkshire tourism is all about being the best and coming up with innovative, groundbreaking new ways to market our great county.
After securing the Grand Depart of the Tour de France for Yorkshire next year, we felt we needed to help bridge that gap and capitalise on the run up from a tourism point of view. By taking part in this year’s Tour, we will be promoting Yorkshire and our thousands of tourism businesses to the entire globe in the lead up to next year’s exciting Grand Depart.