Harrogate town centre

HBC release their Destination Management Plan for the Harrogate District

3 March 2022

Harrogate Borough Council have released a Destination Management Plan for Harrogate.

It outlines three main priorities to achieve a three-year plan to position the Harrogate district as a first choice destination for tourism, large-scale events and investment.

  • Priority one is to position Harrogate district as a first choice health and wellbeing destination, able to attract high spending domestic and international visitors
  • Priority two will position Harrogate district as a first-choice events destination by attracting, hosting and delivering exceptional events. Events are a significant visitor driver, attracting people from far and wide to spend in the area’s venues, hotels, visitor attractions, bars and restaurants. A year-round festival, conference and events programme will ensure a lift in the visitor economy and enable sustainable growth
  • Priority three is responsible tourism. A responsible tourism strategy will be developed in order to be recognised as a destination for responsible tourism by 2030.

Marketing agency the fabl have released a tourism and hospitality whitepaper ‘Beyond the Blip’ with insights for post lockdown recovery. See https://thefabl.com/beyond-the-blip/https://thefabl.com/beyond-the-blip/

Liz smailes. Business Development – tourism & leisure at the fabl said:

It’s very encouraging to see a Yorkshire district acknowledge the economic and social importance of its visitor economy. Any plan for a Destination Management Organisation requires a strategic process as the first step towards creating a destination brand identity. 

With Harrogate’s Spa heritage, and now internationally renowned Harrogate Spring Water brand, a priority stream for Health and Wellbeing as a competitive strength is a perfect choice. The pandemic has led to an increase in problems with mental health and not only does this theme address a real problem in modern society, visitors are also placing more importance on the health and wellbeing choices offered by a destination. The Harrogate district already has so much to offer and a significant amount of untapped potential on this theme.

In the proposed plan for Harrogate, the role of events has also been given a priority stream, and rightly so with the prominence of Harrogate Convention Centre. The tourism industry refers to this very specific sector as MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events, and again Harrogate District as a whole can benefit from an all encompassing approach to this very niche but highly profitable source market.

A focus on environmental sustainability isn’t new, but the degree to which travellers expect (and prefer) eco-friendly products and services is. One significant and important change out of the pandemic is that sustainability is no longer a trend; it has to be considered a permanent and natural element of the whole integrated offer. Rather than a stand-alone priority, sustainable considerations have become the backdrop against which all decisions are made. 

A destination without a focussed, well-defined identity that has no substance will fail to attract footfall. To differentiate from anywhere else, and give people a reason to venture there, a destination must understand who its current customers are, which demographic they want to attract, and ensure their product resonates with travellers’ motivations and desires.That Harrogate is approaching this as a priority is not only timely, but shows very exciting potential.


Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said:

The visitor economy plays a huge role locally, underpinning 8,000 jobs and bringing £600million in to our economy. Without it our district would be a very different place with fewer shops, businesses and job opportunities. That is why it is important that we seek to grow the visitor economy.

As well as attracting visitors to enjoy all that we have to offer, a thriving visitor economy enhances and maintains quality-of-life for local residents and makes Harrogate district a more attractive place to visit and invest.

For a visitor economy to continue to thrive and grow, it requires a collaborative approach, strong leadership and a shared sense of direction. This plan is the culmination of a number of interviews and surveys provided by people and businesses that have a direct input into the success of our visitor economy and who have shared their ideas and suggestions to take us forward.

The Destination Management Plan for Harrogate


1 Comment

  1. All very laudable but Harrogate council has completely lost touch with grass route humanity. This manifests itself in the apparent invisibility of people who need services and houses etc. Superficially the council may claim they are fulfilling the needs of people who need, deserve and have contributed to for years.
    Harrogate council have turned themselves into a business focus and are missusing millions of pounds on superficial schemes intended to make Harrogate look, outwardly prosperous.
    Only last week l met someone who was shocked that Harrogate needs a food bank.!!! I rest my case

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