“YORK can’t rely on the Minster and Shambles to bring in tourists” - that was the message from the boss of one of Britain’s biggest tourism organisations as she visited the city for the Visit York conference.

Sally Balcombe, the chief executive of VisitBritain, was one of the speakers at yesterday’s event, which attracted almost 300 to York Racecourse.

Hosted by BBC presenter Clare Frisby, the lineup also included The Independent’s senior travel editor and broadcaster Simon Calder, the co-author of Being Brilliant Andy Whittaker, and Virgin’s brand director Olly Markeson.

Speaking to The Press about what York’s tourism sector can do to stand apart from other city’s in the UK, Sally Balcombe said: “I think the thing that everyone knows York for is being this beautiful heritage city; the Minster, the small streets, it’s what tourists, especially international tourists, think an English city looks like.

“But that’s not enough any more, particularly for millennials. There are a lot more attractions to York and they need to be brought to the forefront. That has to be done as well as promoting York’s traditional appeal rather than instead of.

“York Racecourse is one of those attractions. It’s arguably one of the best racecourses in the north and has got its act together in promoting itself as such.

“York has got to give people other reasons to visit, and reasons to come back. The challenge is people can do York in a day, so what can you do to bring them back.

“There isn’t one thing that makes York unique, there are other beautiful heritage cities out there, but York has a whole mix of things to offer, that together makes the city stand out, and gives people an all round experience, especially when you take a wider look and take in surrounding areas like the North York Moors and the Yorkshire coast.”

The event was sponsored by Leeds Bradford Airport. Chris Sanders, aviation development director said: “As the international gateway for Yorkshire, we are proud to support an event that highlights the importance of the tourism sector to York.”