The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership has been chosen by Government to be the first ever Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) ‘Pathfinder’ for the visitor economy and to play a leading role within the national network of LEPs. This is the first and only tourism-focused pathfinder appointed by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
Working with VisitEngland, the national tourist board, the project will involve looking at the success factors that help businesses innovate by bringing together some of the LEP area’s most forward thinking business people as well as experts from across England, industry and technology. It will include the brains behind Foursquare, The Eden Project, City Inn Hotels, Alton Towers and Legoland, The Feversham Arms, Welcome to Yorkshire and Bivouac. There will also be discussions with tourism agencies about how to spread the learning locally and get businesses involved.
Pat Oxley, LEP board member and award winning Pickering B&B owner, commented:
We are delighted to have been chosen to be a pathfinder. There are many top-class businesses in our area but tourism is a competitive industry. With many of our small businesses caught up in the day to day running, we want to make it easier for them to pick up and run with new ideas. This isn’t blue sky hot air stuff, this will generate some copper bottomed practical ways to grow cutting edge businesses. And although we’re starting with tourism, we’re sure much will be applicable to other businesses in the LEP area.
Michael Fallon, Business Minister said:
Local Enterprise Partnerships are a power shift away from central government and national quangos to local communities and local businesses that really understand the barriers to growth in their areas. The York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership is a real pathfinder for others to follow. Tourism is big business for Yorkshire and proactive local leadership is important to ensure that they can continue to prosper in this hugely competitive industry.
James Berresford , VisitEngland’s Chief Executive said:
We’re delighted to be working closely with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP and we’re confident that a focus such as this on innovation will help to generate creative ideas and solutions that could benefit tourism and ultimately support its continued growth. The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games provided a great feel good factor in this country and a swell of national pride. This is a decisive time for tourism and an innovative approach is key if we are to make the most of this opportunity.
Sam Hardwick, owner of Bivouac, who will be lending ideas to the project told us: “When I first met the Enterprise Partnership it was to give them hammers and set them to work building wood stores for our eco-aware and rustic-luxury holiday site in the woods of Nidderdale. So when they invited me to take part I was only too happy. I’m a passionate believer that tourism is a great business with obvious economic returns, but also lots of opportunities for social benefit too. I’m really looking forward to sharing some of the approaches with the local tourism community and seeing where it all ends up.
The York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership is a business led partnership with the public sector that aims to grow businesses faster in order to create good quality sustainable jobs. The Partnership is chaired by Barry Dodd, Chairman of the GSM Group. The Board comprises 10 private sector members and 6 Local Authority Leaders.
The York North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership is also referred to as “the Local Enterprise Partnership” or “the LEP”.
The LEP pathfinder initiative has been designed by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to highlight projects that are leading the way in a particular field or economic sector. The main purpose is to make sure that lessons and good ideas are shared between the LEP network so that others can build on success.