YORKSHIRE’S council chief executives should be looking at new ways of creating jobs by boosting tourism, according to a leading business figure.
Barry Dodd, the chairman of the York, North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), believes local councils must devise a co-ordinated strategy to encourage more tourists to visit Yorkshire.
“We have got the best brand of the lot (Yorkshire) and we should take advantage of it,’ he said. “I’m calling for a summit of the chief executives of all the councils to boost tourism. Tourism boosts the rural and urban economies. It produces immediate benefits. The LEP is prepared to host this meeting and provide a venue.”
According to figures provided by Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency which is being scrapped by the coalition Government, tourism provides jobs for 254,000 people in the region.
James Newman, the chairman of the Sheffield city region LEP, said: “If it was felt that this (summit) could improve cohesion, then we will support it.”
Neil McLean, the chairman of the Leeds city region’s LEP, added: “Yorkshire has already got a very strong brand, and the more we can work together to support that the better.”
A spokesman for Welcome to Yorkshire said: “We have the public backing of all three LEPs and we work closely with the 22 local authorities and three national parks to promote rural and urban tourism.”
According to Welcome to Yorkshire, the region attracts 216m visitors a year.
Coun Peter Box, the leader of Wakefield Council, said: “People are not bothered about council boundaries, what matters is the product.”
Earlier this month, a marketing campaign to promote Yorkshire was voted the best in the world.
Welcome to Yorkshire, the region’s tourism body, received a World Travel Award, after it beat entries from Brazil and India.