YORK tourism bosses are to launch their biggest ever marketing campaign, to help city businesses recover from the recent floods.

Buoyed by new record-breaking visitor figures, tourism body Visit York will today announce plans for its "biggest and best yet" tourism campaign, in the wake of the December floods.

At the organisation's annual conference today at York Racecourse, tourism bosses will reveal plans for a new UK national marketing campaign, as well as increased international marketing and a new focus on social media to promote York.

York Press:

Jane Lady Gibson, Chairman of Make It York, preparing for today's annual conference at York Racecourse

The event, expected to attract around 200 tourism businesses, is being held as latest annual tourism figures show visitor spend has reached new record highs in York.

Newly-compiled data for 2014 shows:

  • Visitor spend rose from £573 million a year to £608 million, with daily spend per visitor rising from £36 to £44.86.
  • Visitor numbers were up by 1.5 per cent from 6.7 million to 6.8 million annually
  • The number of jobs in the city supported by tourism rose from 19,000 to 20,300.

Kate McMullen, head of consumer products and Marketing at Make It York, the parent company of Visit York, said: "We know it has been a very difficult start to the year for businesses.

"However, these latest tourism figures are a sign of confidence in York and are testament to the city’s popularity and resilience.

"After the Boxing Day floods it is now more vital than ever that our marketing reaches audiences world-wide.

"There truly are more reasons to visit York and Yorkshire than ever before and we’ll make sure the city is put firmly on the ‘must visit’ list this year for new and repeat customers both at home and abroad."

New marketing initiatives include a new focus on social media for York across Twitter, Facebook, and now Instagram, a new blogger campaign, increased international marketing targeting the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and China as well as plans for a new UK national marketing campaign.

Through its Science City brand, GAMBIT, plans for a smartphone app to guide visitors to attractions based on real-time information are also being developed.

To attract and increase international conferences, a new project is being launched to bid for York to host conferences or events for major associations across the UK, with the association sector accounts for 26 per cent of conference business in York; higher than the national average of 18 per cent.

The newly released figures show business tourism attracts an estimated 977,000 delegates attending a meeting or conference in York, generating £141 million for the local economy.

Michelle Brown, marketing manager at Make It York, said: "We’re working full steam ahead to target the travel trade, tour operators, conference organisers and consumers to shout loud and proud about York.

"From award-winning attractions to our year round festival programme, our success depends on surpassing expectations of our customers.

"Tourism businesses in York help us to do just that by continually advancing our tourism and cultural offer. We’ll make sure customers are in no doubt there’s never been a better year to visit York."