Smash hit TV show The Dales has been hailed a major success after triggering a tourism boom to the Yorkshire countryside.
The 12-part series, which started at the end March, has catapulted the Yorkshire Dales into the homes of an average of 4million viewers a week.
It has been so successful that the series has been nominated for best factual entertainment series in the TV Choice awards. Viewers are urged to cast their vote before the closing date on Friday June 10. www.yorkshire.com/yorkshire-dales
Welcome to Yorkshire’s dedicated website gives viewers all the information they need about the programme and about visiting the Yorkshire Dales.
And since the programme was aired, it has notched up over 90,000 online hits.
Latest figures from Welcome to Yorkshire show that self catering accommodation in the Yorkshire Dales were up 6% for April compared to the same time last year.
Visitor numbers to attractions in the Yorkshire Dales & Harrogate area were up a massive 35% in April 2011, compared to the same time last year.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “The programme has been a resounding success with businesses throughout the Dales telling us that it has worked wonders for them and their communities.
“Millions of viewers across the UK have tuned in every week to watch the great characters and the stunning landscape featured. This has inspired people to come and see the Yorkshire Dales first hand for themselves and we are sure that once they have been, they will come back for more!”
Amanda and Clive Owen who have five children and 900 sheep at their farm in Swaledale say they have been inundated with phone calls, emails and day visitors since the programme was aired. Not only does Amanda sell homemade scones for coast-to-coast walkers, the programme also followed her revamping a brand new shepherd’s hut on their land for overnight guests.
When the episode aired, the couple received dozens of enquiries from more than 60 enquiries in one week alone and the hut was even booked out for a week by a honeymoon couple.
Amanda said: “It’s been amazing! We never expected such interest. We usually have coast-to-coast walkers dropping in but since the programme we’ve had people just coming to see us. We’ve had loads of requests and bookings for the shepherd’s hut as well, we can’t believe it.”
Tom Orde-Powlett who runs Bolton Castle near Leyburn said they have seen visitor numbers surge by 50% compared to last April and have been able to recruit another staff member thanks to the boom. He said: “We have had lots of people coming in and saying it’s because they’ve seen us on the programme. I’ve also got a new employee starting and that’s as a direct result of the growth.”
The community-owned George and Dragon Pub in Hudswell has seen a massive surge in web hits as well as people popping in for a pint.
The programme is also inspiring viewers to visit towns featured in the programme. Barbara Sleightholm who owns Fair View B&B in Hawes said she had bookings from viewers. She said: “I think Hawes itself was also the busiest it has ever been over the Easter and Bank Holiday weekends because of the programme. The town has been heaving.”
The Dales Haven, a B&B in Leyburn, has had bookings from visitors due to the programme as well as enquiries from viewers visiting Leyburn Tourist Information Office, which is housed within the B&B. Owner Martin Crowson said: “The TV programme has definitely led to new people discovering Leyburn. Some visitors to the tourist information office have been seeking out the family with the shepherd’s hut in Swaledale (The Owens) and recently some of our guest bookings were due to the popularity of the TV series.”
Welcome to Yorkshire played a vital role during the making of the series in assisting the production team. The series is screened on Monday nights at 8pm on ITV1 – the last episode will be screened on June 13.