Yorkshire tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire is to go into administration after local authority leaders announced they would stop funding it.
On Monday, the Yorkshire Leaders Board, which is a partnership of 22 local authorities and two mayoral combined authorities, unanimously agreed that a new approach was needed to the marketing of the Yorkshire region.
This decision, which followed the recommendation of an independent review to look at the structure and function of Welcome to Yorkshire, means that the tourism body will no longer receive public funding via local authorities to promote tourism in the region.
Co-chair of the Yorkshire Leaders Board, Cllr Stephen Houghton, who is leader of Barnsley Council, said: ‘Every district, borough and county in Yorkshire benefits from tourism. The industry, and the communities that rely on it, deserve our support, in particular as we continue to recover from the effects of a global pandemic over the last two years.
‘Welcome to Yorkshire has played a pivotal role over the last decade, enabling us to bring high profile sporting events and investment to the region, and showcasing our talent and diverse offer. But a lot has changed and, following consideration of the views of our public and private sector stakeholders on the current arrangements, we have unanimously agreed that a new approach is needed.’
‘It was with deep regret that last night the Board of Welcome to Yorkshire (WtY) took the decision to place the organisation into administration,’ said chair of Welcome to Yorkshire Peter Box.
‘The past three years have been incredibly difficult for Board members and staff as we have endeavoured to deal with well-publicised legacy issues.’
The tourism body has had two CEOs in the last three years and the Tour de Yorkshire cycling race, which is organised by Welcome to Yorkshire, has been cancelled for the third year in a row due to COVID.
‘These matters, coupled with the impact of COVID and the task of securing sufficient funding from the public and private sectors to place WtY on a sound financial footing, have made the situation increasingly challenging,’ Mr Box added.
Mr Box continued: ‘It is my sincere hope that the public sector will recognise the value of a new regional Destination Management Organisation to build on the many achievements of WtY.
‘This can offer our tourism industry the chance to move forward with a focused approach, deliver on regional priorities, and secure the best outcomes for everyone who visits, lives, works and studies in Yorkshire.’