PLANS to bring the 2021 Rugby League World Cup to York, a reinvigorated York Business Week and a “frenzy of festivals” are all among the latest plans by Make it York to boost the city’s economy.

The self titled “destination management organisation” is today unveiling its latest strategy to more than 300 business leaders from across the city’s business, culture and tourism industries as it hosts its three year review.

As well as looking ahead, Make it York will also re-cap the successes it has achieved since being set up by City of York Council three years ago to spearhead the city’s business, science, culture and tourism sectors.

Make it York’s managing director Steve Brown will reveal the organisation’s tourism strategy, under the Visit York banner, is on track to create a £1 billion sector by 2025.

Mr Brown will tell the audience the city has never had such a” jam-packed festival programme”, with world-firsts arriving this summer such as Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre.

At the conference, being held at the Principal York, delegates will also hear about Bloom! – York’s new city-wide celebration of its rich cultural heritage - the brain-child of Make It York and supported by the York Business Improvement District. And showcasing York’s status as a UNESCO city of media arts, in September, York Mediale, a brand new international media arts festival will run for ten days.

Guest speakers at today’s conference include Tamsin Hart-Jones, York Central Partnership Project Manager and James Cundall, Chief Executive, Lunchbox Productions, who will outline plans for Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre.

Key priorities for the year ahead include highlighting York’s hospitality sector through the inaugural York Hospitality Awards, to be held at the Everyman cinema in September.

Later in the year, in November, York Business Week promises to be the “best yet” and Make It York has plans to run a “world class” conference, highlighting the exceptional things happening within the city’s business sector.

Mr Brown will also hint at the possibility for York to be involved with the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

Jon Flatman, chairman of York City Knights, said: “The new Community Stadium will for the first time give York the opportunity to bid for national and international sporting events.

“ Working with partners across the city, we’re are excited to be exploring bringing elements of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup to the city, which could potentially deliver economic, health and community engagement benefits.”

By December this year plans are afoot to launch a new cultural strategy, steered by the Cultural Leaders Group and overseen by Make It York. Connected to this are plans for a new creative strategy, aimed at developing the conditions in which creative industries can thrive.

Mr Brown said: “There seems to be a frenzy of festivals this year but behind all of this there is also a serious amount of strategy work taking place.

“A key priority for our work going forward is to create a truly ambitious vision and plan for the city’s cultural future.

“Other priorities for the year ahead will be supporting new businesses, raising our game on social media, working with the York BID to attract new retailers to York and producing a talent retention plan for York. Not to mention capitalising on being crowned the Best Place to Live by The Sunday Times, a superb opportunity for the city.”

Among the key achievements over the last year listed by Make it York include the success of the Food Court, in Shambles Market, the York St Nicholas Fair being the busiest and largest yet, which led to York being named “UK’s Most Festive City”, and a new European Regional Development Fund Agri-Food project, working with Fera, which has welcomed more than 250 businesses.

Jane Lady Gibson, chairwoman of Make It York, said: “Increasingly all the ingredients are in place for York to fashion a positive future.

“With so many ambitious projects such as York Central, Castle Gateway and York Community Stadium, combined with accolades such as the Best Place to Live, there has never been so many great opportunities for the city.”