A RECOVERY plan has been unveiled today to boost the tourism sector post-lockdown.

Action includes the launch of a Yorkshire Gift Card to encourage people to spend within the county and a national marketing campaign to welcome visitors back.

The raft of measures aims to preserve the area’s attractions, locations and businesses while keeping interest high in Yorkshire as a visitor destination.

The support is vital for tourism in Yorkshire which is worth £9 billion annually, with the county’s tourism and hospitality industry employing almost 225,000 people.

Welcome to Yorkshire, the destination marketing organisation, accepted the challenge at the start of the coronavirus crisis to stand up for thousands of tourism-related businesses and retain a vital part of the region’s identity.

It has been working with local authorities, national parks, LEPs, many businesses and tourism representatives on future plans, and helping organisations to feel confident that they can offer a safe visitor and employee experience.

Some organisations are well underway with reopening while there is still uncertainty for other players in the sector.

The recovery plan focuses on key campaigns to support economic growth. This includes a revised business membership with an entry level service offering free support and resources for anyone to sign up to.

Meanwhile, the launch of a Yorkshire Gift Card aims to encourage spend within the county.

There will be a focused regional support service for North, South, East and West Yorkshire, a nationwide marketing campaign to ensure Yorkshire retains its high profile as a visitor destination.

A personal membership model is also being launched to tap in to the millions of Yorkshire connections worldwide.

Financial losses as a result of Covid-19 are expected to be well into the billions of pounds and Welcome to Yorkshire have written to Government on behalf of small businesses such as B&B owners and hospitality providers.

Chief executive James Mason said: “We are very much looking forward to gradually welcoming visitors back to Yorkshire when the time is right.

"This has to start with people on our doorsteps, then nationally and eventually internationally. We must bang the big drum to make sure people stop and think ‘we HAVE to visit Yorkshire’.

“We must also strive to support communities within the county to make sure their offer is attractive to new audiences with continual product development to encourage repeat visitors.”

Welcome to Yorkshire Chair Peter Box added: “I am confident that our recovery plan will be a hugely important step forward in rebuilding a successful visitor experience, attracting tourists back to the county and playing its part in helping Yorkshire’s economy recover.”

York Press:

* The Press Love Local Business campaign is highlighting measures being taken to boost confidence among consumers and visitors to help support businesses on the road to recovery.