TOURISM businesses in Craven are being given the chance to highlight their priorities and fine-tune the first strategy of its kind to help to attract thousands more visitors to North Yorkshire and support the multi-million pound industry.

The visitor economy is a cornerstone of North Yorkshire’s economic vitality and brings in more than £1.5 billion a year from domestic visits alone to the county, says the new North Yorkshire Council.

The council, which replaced Craven District Council, North Yorkshire County Council and the other district and borough authorities in the county just five months ago, is coordinating a new strategy, which will be aimed at boosting the visitor economy and supporting tens of thousands of workers who are employed in the sector.

The strategy also aims to attract a wider and more diverse range of visitors.

The destination management plan is set to provide the first countywide approach to promoting the visitor economy following the launch of the council in April.

Two events due to be held in Skipton at the council offices in Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road, on August 16 are part of a series to be held across the county this month. The sessions are aimed at gathering information and views from key organisations and enterprises involved in the visitor economy to help to shape a draft document for the destination management plan.

More sessions are due to be added and those who are not able to attend in person, will be able to access online events.

Councillor Carl Les, leader of North Yorkshire Council, said: “The visitor economy is so important to North Yorkshire, and we are proud to give everyone who comes to the county the warmest of welcomes.

“It is vital that we take into account the views of all those businesses and partner organisations which are involved in the visitor economy to help to develop the destination management plan.

“This is such a key moment for North Yorkshire as we develop the first countywide strategy to promote the visitor economy, and we are committed to supporting the sector while attracting more visitors to enjoy what is such a wonderful part of the country.”

As part of the public engagement for the draft destination management plan, invitations are being sent out to tourism businesses for the workshops, which are free and will be staged both in person and online.

Attendees will be asked about their priorities and aspirations for the tourism industry as well as the strengths, opportunities and challenges being faced by North Yorkshire’s visitor economy.

In addition to the sessions in Skipton, there will be sessions in Leyburn, Ripon, Whitby, Harrogate, Selby, Richmond, Scarborough and Pickering.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for the visitor economy, Cllr Derek Bastiman, said: “North Yorkshire’s visitor economy has a breadth to it that is one of the biggest appeals – there is so much on offer across such a large area.

“We have attempted to provide a wide geographical spread to the engagement events as we want to ensure as many opinions are gathered as possible from those involved in the sector.”

A previous engagement exercise was carried out in May - including a session at Skipton Castle - to shape the draft destination management plan, and the new round of consultations is seeking final views before the strategy is considered by both North Yorkshire Council’s executive and full council later this year.

A survey of North Yorkshire's visitor economy was also conducted earlier this year to allow a greater understanding of the views of industry. The questionnaire focused on accommodation, attractions and experiences, food and drink, festivals and events, as well as heritage and culture, landscape and countryside, towns and villages, access and transportation and visitor services.

A bid is due to be submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in September for North Yorkshire to be home to a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP), which will involve both the private and public sectors and will need to follow a new national process to be eligible for support and potential funding from the Government.

A destination management plan is a key requirement for achieving LVEP accreditation and it hoped that the document will help lever additional investment from the Government and other partnership organisations to deliver the strategy.

Tourism in North Yorkshire accounts for 11 per cent of the county’s overall economy, and 41,200 workers are employed in the sector.

There will be two sessions at North Yorkshire Council’s offices in Skipton on Wednesday, August 16; from 2pm to 4pm, and from 5pm to 7pm.

Online sessions will be available on Monday, August 14, from 12.30pm until 2.30pm and then between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

More details about the public engagement events are available at online.


One of the last in-depth reports carried out by the former Craven District Council was one on the impact of tourism on Craven and the Dales. The council's scrutiny committee, headed by Cllr David Staveley, spoke to emergency services, parish councils and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. The council found there had been an increase in visitors to the area during and immediately after the coronavirus pandemic and concluded numbers would never return to pre-pandemic levels.

The report was critical of the national park authority for what it perceived to be a failure to protect 'under siege' 'honey-pot' areas such as Malham; a claim refuted by the authority's chief executive.

Recommendations included a multi-agency partnership approach to tourism and greater on site management by the national park of large scale events. Also recommended was better traffic management and a review by the national park of its no litter bins policy.