A YORK touring company has reported its best year yet as it invests in expanding its fleet to keep up with growing demand from the city’s tourism sector.

Grand Yorkshire, which offers day trips from York, private tours of Yorkshire & Northumberland and executive travel, has hailed record UK visitors.

In response the family-run business has grown its fleet of vehicles with the addition of an eight-seater Ford Tourneo, which joins the company’s Mercedes Viano minibus and BMW 7-series limousine.

Chris Magee, director of Grand Yorkshire, said: “It’s boom time for Yorkshire tourism and York is at the heart of the growth.

“The exchange rates undoubtedly help and we’ve noticed a big increase in visitors from across the world, in particular from Asia and North America, who come to see what makes Yorkshire world-famous.

“Next year looks to be stronger than ever and our growing fleet means we’re well placed to welcome even more visitors to see what Yorkshire has to offer.”

Statistics released this week from VisitBritain show that the number of overseas visits to the UK has leapt by more than a quarter in the past five years and is forecast to rise another five per cent in 2018.

Growth in visitors to Yorkshire was even stronger at nine per cent in the first half of 2017 compared with 2016; a trend which looks set to continue thanks to favourable exchange rates for inbound visitors.

Benefitting from this surge, Grand Yorkshire grew bookings by in excess of 33 per cent in 2017, compared with the previous year.

The new vehicle will add to Grand Yorkshire’s capacity for its guided whole and half-day tours to attractions in Yorkshire outside the city – such as its trip to Whitby, Goathland and the North York Moors as well as places like Castle Howard, Fountains Abbey and the Yorkshire Dales.

Visit York is due to release its most recent visitor figures for the city later this month.

The city is on track to grow its tourism industry to £1 billion by 2024, with last year’s figures revealing York hotel occupancy ended 2016 with an increase of four per cent on 2015, with average rates now at £94.08.

Figures for visits to attractions ended the year on par with 2015, with 2.3 million people visiting York attractions in 2016, with research suggesting 32 per cent came from Yorkshire.

Internationally, China is now the second most important overseas source market for York, after the United States, with the city welcoming 231,000 leisure visitors from overseas during 2016.