Wednesday, March 2, 2022

News: Welcome to Yorkshire placed into administration


Welcome to Yorkshire (WtY) has been placed into administration following "well-publicised legacy issues."

WtY is the Destination Marketing Organisation for Yorkshire and the official tourism agency.

Following its establishment in 2009, WtY received core funding from Regional Development Agency, Yorkshire Forward, as well as other income, including funding from local authorities across the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Legacy issues include the resignation of former chief executive Sir Gary Verity in March 2019 over concerns regarding expances and the way the organisation was funded. His replacement James Mason stepped down in October 2021. The board said that "Coupled with the impact of Covid and the task of securing sufficient funding from the public and private sectors to place Welcome to Yorkshire on a sound financial footing, have made the situation increasingly challenging."

Yorkshire council leaders recently decided not to commit to a multi-year funding package.

Yorkshire’s local and combined authorities also agreed to take time to further engage with businesses to develop an organisation that will meet the needs of both public and private sector clients and bring wider benefit to the region.

Peter Box CBE, Chair of Welcome to Yorkshire. said: "The [government-commissioned] de Bois review of Destination Management Organisations could have created the opportunity for WtY to be given the structure and long-term funding required to move on, grow and develop into the organisation we believe it should be on behalf of Yorkshire and its people.

"Sadly, the decision of the Yorkshire Leaders not to commit to a multi-year funding package, whilst understandable, removed that pathway and means that WtY cannot continue in its present form.

"It is my sincere hope that the public sector will recognise the value of a new regional Destination Management Organisation to build on the many achievements of WtY."

Cllr Stephen Houghton, who is Leader of Barnsley Council, said: “Every district, borough and county in Yorkshire benefits from tourism. The industry, and the communities that rely on it, deserve our support, in particular as we continue to recover from the effects of a global pandemic over the last two years.

"Welcome to Yorkshire has played a pivotal role over the last decade, enabling us to bring high profile sporting events and investment to the region, and showcasing our talent and diverse offer. But a lot has changed and, following consideration of the views of our public and private sector stakeholders on the current arrangements, we have unanimously agreed that a new approach is needed.

“We all agree that our visitor economy needs a champion, and we will now speak further to our stakeholders to ensure we have an organisation with a clear purpose, that works for all, and is sustainable for the future."

Rotherham Council paid annual membership costing £15,000 in each of the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. The board of the Sheffield City Region (as was) Mayoral Combined Authority agreed to invest in WtY in 2020 and the decision was made in private.

WtY website

Images: WtY


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