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York can cash in on Olympic legacy by targeting domestic tourists while readying itself for 2015 rugby World Cup
TOURISM businesses in York need to capitalise on the Olympics by continuing to invest in marketing and their product, the chief executive of Visit England has said.
James Berresford said the domestic market, which makes up 85 per cent of the value of tourism nationally, would be the focus for creating a legacy. He said the Olympics, the torch relay, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and festivals had made people especially proud of their country in 2012.
And although the poor weather at the start of the summer in particular had caused a drop in visitor numbers this year, 45 per cent of the population still intended to take a break in this country.
Speaking at a Tourism Society Yorkshire lunch at Bedern Hall in York, Mr Berresford said: “Let’s keep the momentum going and marketing going until 2015.”
In 2015, Mr Berresford said England’s hosting of the Rugby Union World Cup would be another important event.
The tournament is the third most-watched event in the sporting calendar after the football World Cup and the Olympics. He said it lasted for six weeks, with matches largely taking place at weekends, meaning visitors would be looking for things to do during the week.
In New Zealand, he said, international visitors to the event in 2011 stayed for an average of 21 days.
Visit England recently secured £666,666 for Visit York as part of a wider bid involving other tourist destinations seeking cash from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, said as a result of that cash boost, the city would be launching a winter campaign to attract more visitors between November and March.
It was also marketing in new areas, such as London and the south east with train company East Coast, and in new ways to meet targets set by the bid, which pledged to generate an extra £22 million for the local economy and create 391 new jobs.
Mrs Cruddas said: “We know there are going to be new things to encourage people to come to York.”
Mr Berresford told firms from across Yorkshire that Visit England was also looking into another RGF bid to raise money for a campaign involving the Yorkshire coast.