A new partnership to support tourism in York and North Yorkshire has been backed by central government.

A joint bid for a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) for both York and North Yorkshire has been approved, promising a better co-ordinated and strategic approach to promoting the sector.

The move comes 18 months after the collapse of the former Welcome to Yorkshire tourism board collapsed after an expenses scandal and the pandemic.

Central government created the partnerships after a review of the visitor economy, with it potentially offering more cash to promote certain areas.

Tourism is worth more than £3.2 billion each year in York and North Yorkshire, with it employing over 60,000 workers.

Council leader, Cllr Carl Les, called the approval of the partnership “a watershed moment”, with it giving the newly-launched council the opportunity to develop a countywide tourism strategy.

A bid to create the partnership was put together by Make it York, featuring a destination management plans and proposed tourism strategy.

City of York and North Yorkshire Councils are increasingly working together, something to be cemented further with a prospective devolution deal and a combined authority.

City of York Council’s leader, Cllr Claire Douglas, said: “We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in North Yorkshire to develop this essential industry for our region, to provide as much support as we can to help it grow sustainably, build more resilience and deliver improved pay, terms and conditions and productivity for its workforce.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Carl Les and Claire Douglas

Visit England director Andrew Stokes said: “Local Visitor Economy Partnerships (LVEPs) are at the heart of transforming the visitor economy landscape in England and we are delighted North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council worked together on the joint bid.

“We look forward to continuing our close collaboration as the LVEP is established and VisitEngland will provide expert support alongside guidance and resources in areas from product distribution, accessibility and sustainability to business support, funding bids and marketing.”

The York Tourism Advisory Board is currently developing the city’s new tourism strategy alongside Make It York, City of York Council and the York BID.

The aim is to encourage visitors to stay longer in the county and to attract more people from overseas.

The board’s chair, Brendan Paddison, who is also Associate Professor and Associate Dean at York St John University, said: “Achieving Local Visitor Economy Partnership status is a brilliant outcome for York and North Yorkshire.

“This will support Make It York and City of York Council to continue to position York as a leading destination, and working with North Yorkshire Council and the new mayoral combined authority, to advocate for the importance of tourism to the city and region together.”