JAMES Mason says Bradford will play a key role in kickstarting Yorkshire's tourism economy once the coronavirus crisis is over.

The Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive says the organisation is looking into other avenues to promote God's Own County as the pandemic takes a firm grip on the tourism industry, as it is on all aspects of life.

The former Bradford City chief operating officer adds his home city of Bradford can be at the forefront in getting the county back on its feet once the world is given the all clear to get back to normal.

Mason said: "Bradford will play a huge role in kickstarting the Yorkshire economy.

“Tourism is the life blood of much of the county and presently worth £9billion a year.

"In a city like Bradford we have a host of tourist attractions such as the Science and Media Museum, Salts Mill, Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage to name but a few all on our doorstep with the Yorkshire Dales only a matter of miles away.

"West Yorkshire has a huge part to play in the bigger picture of Yorkshire’s tourism economy and we are here to support the city.

"It’s vital that we and our members prepare ourselves to hit the ground running and be ready for the world to enjoy Yorkshire again when we come out the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.

"We chose Bradford as our host city for the Y20, not because I am from there, because Bradford is showing to the rest of the UK how a city can plan together including the university, local authorities and businesses, that a city can be connected."

While visitors to Yorkshire's landmarks is off limits during the outbreak, Mason says the Welcome to Yorkshire website is staging a series of online events in the meantime.

This includes the World Cup of Yorkshire, a tournament, which concluded yesterday, run online with a series of the county's attractions, which included Salts Mill and Bolton Abbey, battling it out in a public vote.

The organisation has also set up a voucher scheme where visitors commit to a future trip to a county attraction. They are also running a 'Yorkshire Days In' campaign to keep county attractions on the map.

Mason added: "As much as we’d love to say ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ to visitors’ from all across the UK and abroad – we simply can’t right now – and this is the right thing to do.

"But the closed sign on the door is very much a temporary one and we’re working really hard to support the many thousands of affected businesses to trade through this.

“We also want to hear and share other people’s advice and experiences and so we’re asking that they join in the conversation on social media using #YorkshireTogether – and that’s exactly how we’ll get through this – together."