Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Fury over tourism funding allocation
11:42am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
Welcome to Yorkshire has criticised the way funding has been distributed by national body VisitEngland amid claims the region was not recognised as a tourist destination.
It comes as the Regional Growth Fund allocation, which is designed to stimulate employment to grow jobs in the tourism sector in England, was handed out to 14 local organisations, including Visit York and Marketing Leeds, but none to Yorkshire as a whole.
The three-year project, Growing Tourism Locally, is intended to generate £365 million in additional tourism spend and has been funded by £19.8m from the Government’s RGF with contributions from VisitEngland and the private sector.
In a newsletter distributed this week, Welcome to Yorkshire is encouraging people to make their feelings known about the “logic of recent funding decisions” by directly lobbying VisitEngland’s chief executive James Beresford and the Minister for Tourism and Heritage John Penrose.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “We’re delighted that funding is being made available for tourism which is now such an important part of our economy and we look forward to working with Marketing Leeds and Visit York to grow the tourism economy even further.
“However, we do have doubts about this ‘scatter gun’ approach to funding and many parts of the county are wondering why they have not received any funding. We do feel it is a missed opportunity not to give the funding to Yorkshire as a whole to build on the success of brand Yorkshire.”
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member with responsibility for tourism, told the Telegraph & Argus: “The coalition Government does not support regions, that is a clear message and therefore it was always going to be difficult for Welcome to Yorkshire to get regional funding from that source.”
She added that Bradford had already been successful in bidding for £17.6m of RGF money, which, although not for tourism, would be spent on creating jobs through the £35m city centre growth zone.
A spokesman for VisitEngland responded by saying the RGF money is not a “tourism-specific source of money”, but was created to stimulate the economy in areas of need and to create jobs.
The spokesman said: “It is unfortunate that the funding stream for RGF which is set up to support growth at the local level appears to have become confused with VisitEngland’s overall approach
“Be assured that we do recognise Welcome to Yorkshire as the tourism marketing body responsible for promoting Yorkshire. Be further assured we continue to seek out funding opportunities to support both tourism growth and the activities of organisations across England to facilitate and support that growth.”
Ann Dinsdale, of the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth , one of the region’s top tourist destinations, said that while they were an independent museum and relied mainly on visitor numbers, any extra funding that could bring visitors to the region as a whole and the district in particular would have been beneficial.
She said: “We have been quieter during the Olympics and visitor numbers are down. So any extra funding to help draw people into the area would have been welcome.”