CITY of York Council said it would need to know how any investment would benefit the city before committing extra funds to Welcome to Yorkshire.

The tourism body's board held an extraordinary meeting this week to discuss WTY’s future "following the serious challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic".

It had reportedly asked for a further £1.4million of public money to support its work - with some councils questioning how it would be spent before agreeing to pay.

Rydedale District Council leader Keane Duncan said his authority would not be contributing its £33,000 share, while Hambleton Council leader Mark Robson said he would want more information about how his council's £53,000 would be spent.

The Board discussed offers of financial support from local authorities but said it needed further talks with councils before a definitive option could be pursued.

Cllr Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture at York council, said: “With millions of visitors attracted to York each year to enjoy all that our city has to offer, York’s economy is hugely bolstered by tourism which creates and sustains significant numbers of jobs.

“The council’s tourism recovery strategy is a crucial part of the city’s long-term recovery programme. We have continued to closely work with businesses and organisations, such as Make it York, Visit York and York BID, to ensure that we are ready to safely welcome visitors once again.

“We welcome and value close regional cooperation, and within this work it is vital that transparency and accountability are prioritised.

"For York council to contribute additional resources to Welcome to Yorkshire, whether from the business rates pool or council funds, we will need to understand how the proposed investment would directly benefit York, its residents and businesses, alongside Visit York.

"We welcome further constructive dialogue on this proposal with residents, city partners and Welcome to Yorkshire. Should any additional council funding be required this decision would need be taken to a public council meeting after detailed examination of the costs and benefits.

“As York prepares to welcome visitors once again, we continue to explore how the council can best support the tourism industry and ensure that visitors can once again be safely welcomed back to our wonderful city.”

As reported, Chair of WTY, Peter Box said: “There’s more work to do before we can agree a way ahead. We will continue to talk to council leaders about financial support and the options that flow from that.

"The response we’ve had from leaders over the past few weeks has been encouraging and we were able to have a constructive discussion at this afternoon’s Extraordinary Board Meeting. We will have further talks before we plot a way forward.

“I’m grateful for the support we’ve already had from council leaders, and others, across Yorkshire. If we are going to deliver a successful economic and social recovery from the pandemic, tourism will have to play a crucial role in that.

“Without a thriving tourism industry, there won’t be the kind of recovery we all want to see in Yorkshire.”