A meeting of key tourism stakeholders held at the Old Swan Hotel on 10 May 2011 gave its unanimous support to the formation of a Harrogate District Tourism Destination Management Organisation, building on the well established Promoting Harrogate Group organised by Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce.
In response to the government’s Tourism Policy paper, published on 4 March this year, the proposal is to establish a private sector led local tourism body for the Harrogate district, creating a joined up approach to the proactive selling and marketing of our unparalleled tourism offer.
The tourism and visitor economy represents around 25 per cent of the district’s total economy, contributing £500m annually and supporting some 23,000 jobs. All sectors of the Harrogate district economy need to get involved in this initiative which aims to secure the best possible experience for every visitor throughout their stay.
Representatives from local hotels and guesthouses, Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce, Harrogate International Festival, Yorkshire Event Centre and Harrogate Borough Council were unified in their enthusiasm to take the initiative forward and expand the discussion to all stakeholders and tourism businesses throughout the district.
Wallace Sampson, Chief Executive of Harrogate Borough Council, commented that: ”We have the exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of something new and bold that could build the platform for a stronger and more resilient sector for many years to come.”
Cllr Caroline Bayliss, Cabinet Member (Designate) for Culture, Tourism and Sports for Harrogate Borough Council who chaired the meeting underlined the district’s unique combination as a major destination for both business and leisure visitors. She added: “There is nowhere else in the country where conference and exhibition visitors and holidaymakers can experience such a wealth of heritage, culture, entertainment and the arts, natural beauty and glorious gardens, combined with high class shopping and dining, all in one place.”
Adding its support to the proposal at its Annual General Meeting on Monday 16 May the Harrogate Chamber of Trade Commerce has invited Wallace Sampson and new Harrogate International Centre Director, Angus Houston, to address the meeting and open up the discussion to a wider group of interested people.
Brian Dunsby, Chief Executive of the Chamber, said: “I welcome the initiative and issue an open invitation to all relevant businesses to attend the Chamber meeting on Monday to hear how you can play your part in taking tourism within the Harrogate district from strength to strength.”
The Chamber meeting will be held at the Cedar Court Hotel on 16 May from 5.30pm and is open to everyone in the tourism sector but pre-registration is required at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01423 879208.