Hundreds of organisations from across the Harrogate district were represented at the launch of Visit Harrogate, the district’s own Destination Management Organisation.
The launch saw the announcement of a series of firsts for Visit Harrogate with LeedsBradfordInternationalAirport signing up to become the organisation’s first principal sponsor
In addition, the Ripon Hornblower appeared at an event outside the city for the first time; and the first district-wide tourism website was launched.
Visit Harrogate aims to increase the number of visitors across the whole district and the length of their stays and the amount they spend.
The launch, at Harrogate International Centre, featured an exhibition of businesses from right across the district, as well as presentations from key players in tourism.
It was opened by Visit Harrogate Chairman Peter McCormick OBE, who told the gathering:
“Our mission is to make sure that our visitors have the very best experience, stay longer and spend more while they are here.”
Harrogate Borough Council Chief Executive Wallace Sampson spoke about the need for an independent tourism body and the importance of a district-wide approach and the Strategy and Development Director of Visit England, Louise Stewart, told guests about tourism’s impact on the economy.
She described Visit Harrogate’s activity as “cutting edge” but warned that other regions were also upping their game.
Visit Harrogate Project director Angela Harris was passionate about the need for the district to work together to achieve the objectives and outlined some of the organisation’s plans for achieving this.
The event was supported by Harrogate International Centre.
Director Simon Kent said:
“The launch had a great buzz about it with so many people from around the region showing real enthusiasm for the new organisation.
“It was great to hear that Visit Harrogate recognises the importance of links between leisure and business tourism and HIC has a role to play in strengthening those links.
“Visit Harrogate will only work if everyone in the whole district works together on promoting what a great part of Yorkshire this is.”
Attendees were also able to see presentations on the new Visit Harrogate website; the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival which comes to Harrogate in 2014 and on benchmarking for attraction, accommodation and hospitality businesses.