YORK proved it could smile through the recession with the revelation of a £200 million success story for the local economy.
Laura Freer, senior conference marketing executive for Visit York and Dominic Bishop, general manager of The Grange hotel, each had their own special reasons for celebrating with a glass of bubbly.
Laura was toasting the latest record-breaking figures which show the total economic impact from business tourism in York in 2008 was £203 million – despite the national financial storm.
That is made up of £133.42 million spent directly at and on the conference venues, plus a new figure, announced by The Press for the first time on Tuesday, of £69.48 million, spent outside the venues on items such as transport, food and drink. York’s money-spinning pulling power meant that the city leapt three places to become seventh in the rankings of the top ten business destinations in England – ahead of Nottingham, Brighton and Coventry.
Among the many hotels in York that help it achieve this was The Grange, recently named in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine’s Top 100 Hotels in the world – which is the reason that Mr Bishop joined Ms Freer with a glass of good cheer.
The hotel, built in the 1830s as an elegant Grade II country house, was virtually derelict when bought by Jeremy and Vivien Cassel in 1989. They then transformed it into the luxury 36 bedroom hotel it is today with AA four-star rating and AA Rosettes for its Ivy Brasserie.
All the bedrooms are individually furnished and designed while throughout the hotel are antique oil paintings, period piece furnishings, rich drapes, deep comfy sofas and roaring fires.
All of these were features recognised in The Press Business Awards 2009 last month in which the hotel was a finalist.