YORK'S tourism chiefs are concerned that hotel policies could discourage visitors to the city.

Yvonne Gordon wanted to visit York from her home in Edinburgh on June 21. But when she rang hotels in the city she found she was unable to book a hotel for one night.

She said: "I was told they would only take us for the Saturday and Sunday night. I then rang the tourist office and they said it was unfortunate but the best thing for me to do was to ring round hotels the day before I travel.

"I understand why hotels do it, obviously they want people to stay longer than one night. But it is a bit of a problem."

She added that she knew people who had planned to travel to York, but had decided not to because they had found it so difficult to find somewhere to stay.

Kay Hyde, spokeswoman for the York Tourism Bureau, said they were aware that many hotels in the city were reluctant to take visitors for just one night.

She said: "Our main concern is to make sure our visitors are well looked after. We do know there are hotels in the city who hang out for two-night bookings.

"But we want to encourage our hotels and guest houses to give our visitors what they want."

She said that the bureau had a list of hotels and guest houses that were willing to take bookings for one-night stays.

She said the tourist office contacted by Miss Gordon should have given her the names and numbers of hotels on that list. She apologised for the response Miss Gordon received. "We can understand it from a hotel's point of view, but we would encourage all hotels to take one-night bookings," she said.

The Evening Press contacted a selection of hotels in the city and was told by all of them that they had a two-night minimum stay policy at weekends.

But Dale Needham, general manager of the Ramada Encore Hotel in York, said they did take a limited number of one-night bookings at weekends.

He said there were enough inquiries for one-night stays on both Friday and Saturday nights to balance each other out.

But he said most visitors to York wanted to stay at least two nights.

He said: "There are plenty of things to do in York and it is a good central location for touring the rest of the region. Visitors could easily stay a week, never mind a weekend."

Updated: 09:40 Saturday, June 14, 2003