PLANNING has already begun for the Christmas Market 2021, as tourism body Make It York (MIY) outlines its ambitions for the year ahead.

The organisation says work has already started on plans for next Christmas and MIY is currently looking for food and drink providers for the market.

The managing director of MIY, Sean Bullick, is due to update councillors on the organisation’s work at a meeting on Thursday.

A report says planning for summer events has also begun, as well as the management of the Rugby League World Cup games in the city in October and November.

It says: “We have started the process of planning the Christmas Market – a tender has gone out for the food and beverage provision. We will again be working closely with City of York Council and Public Health in the planning stages to ensure we can provide a safe and reassuring environment in line with the relevant restrictions in place.

“We’re currently reviewing a number of proposals for a summer long presence/event which reflects the need for making the best use of open spaces, factors in social distancing measures but also engages and encourages people to come into the city centre.

“Planning for the Rugby League World Cup continues with MIY project managing the promotion and engagement of the championships across the city, working with key partners.”

York's 2020 Christmas Market was cancelled last October as a result of the pandemic.

The report says the organisation is also recruiting a new markets manager and adds that the head of business, network innovation and inward investment has recently resigned and MIY is considering how this role should be best covered in future.

The organisation was granted a financial bailout by City of York Council in December with a loan of £300,000 and a guarantee of up to £1 million from the local authority in the next two years.

Attractions, hotels, shops and restaurants pay to be members of MIY – under its Visit York department – and the report says retention rates have been “relatively positive” compared to other cities.

The report adds: “The operating environment has remained extremely difficult for MIY, as it has for millions of businesses across the country, with core revenues from a range of sources continuing to be hit very hard.”