Keep calm and carry on call to Yorkshire after Brexit

Cheers: Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity
Cheers: Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity
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That was the week that was with unprecedented political fall-out since we came out of the EU.

Amid the constitutional maelstrom, we here in God's Own County are urged to Tyke stock, stay strong and keep united as the world considers our decision.

Welcome to Yorkshire today appealed to tourism businesses to continue their great work in ensuring South Yorkshire remains among top tourist destinations.

The tourism and events organisation is predicting a potential boom in staycation holidaymakers and is sending a message to international visitors that they are welcome in Yorkshire.

Chief executive Sir Gary Verity said: “The question that many of our members and businesses within Yorkshire are asking is: how will this affect tourism, how will this affect us?

“We would urge communities in Yorkshire to do what they do best and that is to pull together and support each other like never before. We need to stand united, to “keep calm and carry on” with our work of making Yorkshire a friendly, attractive and inspiring place to visit for domestic and international visitors alike.”

The Tour de Yorkshire will not be affected by the result as Welcome to Yorkshire does not receive European funding and will continue to work closely with French colleagues at ASO to deliver this world class event.

Latest figures show a huge public appetite for the race which saw some 2 million spectators line the route, who generated nearly £60 million for the local economy (source: Leeds Beckett University). That is a 20% increase on last year which has smashed all targets.

Sir Gary continued: “This is a Yorkshire success story and this is what we are about. We need to keep Yorkshire a must-see visitor destination, keep attracting visitors – let’s not forget Scarborough was recently named the most popular destination for holidaymakers anywhere outside London from 2013 - 2015 (Source: Visit England)

“No one knows for certain what a post-EU UK would look like but it is likely to be a lot more expensive for domestic travellers to fly abroad. Perhaps this means there will be a boom in “staycations” with more and more people looking to stay within the UK and looking at Yorkshire as somewhere to spend their break.”

Latest figures are already strong as domestic overnight trips to Yorkshire grew by 20% in 2015, one of the largest increases among regions in England. The county also experienced an 11% increase in spending. (Source: Great Britain Tourism Survey. Published April 2016)

Sir Gary added: “A decline in the value of sterling will act as a further incentive for international visitors to holiday here as the Dollar and the Euro will go much further.

“International visitors are important to us and we are working hard to ensure Yorkshire is marketed globally.”

Welcome to Yorkshire launched a £1million international marketing campaign earlier this year and secured more television coverage for the Tour de Yorkshire to showcase the county.

This was broadcast globally to some 178 countries and watched by some 11.4 million global TV viewers across Eurosport and ITV4 - double the amount in 2015.

Earlier this year, a Tour de Yorkshire branded plane was unveiled and is spreading the message from the skies after Welcome to Yorkshire linked up with Flybe.

Sir Gary added: “We will continue to think big and to come up with ways we can promote Yorkshire to the world.

“We remain naturally optimistic and we take the view that the best of our work is in front of us.

“The result does not mean we are any less welcoming to our friends in Europe or anywhere else in the world. We will work harder than ever to ensure their stay is warm, welcoming and memorable and we will continue as ever in our mission to make Yorkshire the number one tourist destination.”

Local politicos meanwhile demand Yorkshire's voice continues to be heard.

Yorkshire First leader Richard Carter said: "The Prime Minister made it clear his new EU unit would listen to Scotland, Wales, London and even Gibraltar as part of the preparations for Brexit, but we have to ask where is Yorkshire's voice? After all Yorkshire has a population larger than Scotland and has a vitally important manufacturing sector which is now struggling with uncertainty

"The vote in Yorkshire last week showed that people want to see more control closer to home and they want their voice heard. We now need to have a conversation in Yorkshire and all options, most especially a parliament for Yorkshire, need to be considered as part of that conversation.

"Our immediate priority should be that Yorkshire speaks with one voice - politicians, trade unions, businesses, the third sector and all those with a stake - to ensure that we get the best possible deal for Yorkshire. The Leave campaigners must be held to their promises regarding Yorkshire's finances. Yorkshire must not be left to lose out when both money and powers are brought back from Brussels."