BELEAGURED tourism body Welcome to Yorkshire has received pledges of continued support from both Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council.

The WtY board met last week in private to discuss future options after announcing recently it was asking for a further £1.4 million from Yorkshire councils. This came after councils in Hambleton and Ryedale announced they would withdraw their support.

Chair of WTY, Peter Box said after the meeting: “There’s more work to do before we can agree a way ahead. We will continue to talk to council leaders about financial support and the options that flow from that. The response we’ve had from leaders over the past few weeks has been encouraging and we were able to have a constructive discussion at this afternoon’s Extraordinary Board Meeting. We will have further talks before we plot a way forward.

“I’m grateful for the support we’ve already had from council leaders, and others, across Yorkshire. If we are going to deliver a successful economic and social recovery from the pandemic, tourism will have to play a crucial role in that.

“Without a thriving tourism industry, there won’t be the kind of recovery we all want to see in Yorkshire.”

The company added that the decision to hold today’s extraordinary meeting in private was based on the nature of matters discussed such as the options for its future.

Craven District Council said tourism was an important factor in Craven. District council leader, Councillor Richard Foster, said: “We recognise and value the contribution of Welcome to Yorkshire to our tourism economy within Craven, and to the wider Yorkshire economy. The organisation has done a great deal to help attract tourists to our district in the past and we know how important it is to assist the tourism sector to recover as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

“I am keen to support Welcome to Yorkshire in its work to boost the tourism industry, help businesses and the wider economy to rebuild, and promote the area as a great place to visit. We will be bringing the organisation’s new business plan to our Policy Committee - scheduled for July 28 - which will make a decision on the level of future funding.” Funding is currently £10,000 per year.

Similarly, the county council pledged its continued funding to WtY - reported as being around £98,000 per year.

Cllr Gareth Dadd, deputy leader of North Yorkshire County Council and executive member with responsibility for finance, said: “We are working with other councils across the region to work through funding support for Welcome to Yorkshire.

“We put great value on the very positive work the company has done, which has enormously enhanced the Yorkshire brand.

Prior to the pandemic we were welcoming record numbers of tourists to North Yorkshire and the visitor and hospitality economy here employs tens of thousands of people bringing around £1.9billion to the county’s economy. Now is the moment we need to get behind the tourist industry – so we are standing beside Welcome to Yorkshire as one of the key agents to make this happen.”