A HUGE 13-foot David Hockney puppet will greet visitors to Welcome to Yorkshire’s Y18 tourism conference, which will be held in Bradford later this month.

The event, the largest of its kind in the UK, will celebrate Yorkshire’s major tourism successes and will look ahead to next year’s key events.

An audience of more than 1,000 people are expected at the Alhambra Theatre for the event on March 21.

Bradford will mark the occasion by holding activities in the city centre. There will be cycling rickshaws between the Interchange and Forster Square Station to the Alhambra, cycling displays at City Park, as well as street entertainment, cycle-powered artwork and more. The Ski Band will entertain visitors as they enter the theatre and Bradford pantomime favourite Billy Pearce will also be taking part in the conference.

The event will involve exclusive interviews and announcements, appearances from Yorkshire stars of stage, screen and sport, as well as entertainment and performances.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for environment, sport and culture, said: “Tourism in our district is worth an estimated £656 million a year to the our economy and supports over 13,500 jobs. Total spending by visitors is up by 10 per cent and the number of tourism jobs has also increased by four per cent rom 2015.

“We are incredibly proud that our Alhambra Theatre has been chosen to host this prestigious tourism event and we look forward to welcoming people to the district.”

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, added: “I cannot wait to share the news of just how important tourism is to Yorkshire, as we reveal a number of record breaking figures and acknowledge all the tremendous work being done in our industry right now.

“And I’m absolutely thrilled that Yorkshire legend Billy Pearce will be joining us on stage during the show, at this iconic Bradford venue as we celebrate his immense contribution to entertainment in the county. This is an event not to be missed.”