Businesses use online map for ‘open’ message

It is hoped a new map will help encourage potential visitors to realise Yorkshire is open for business
It is hoped a new map will help encourage potential visitors to realise Yorkshire is open for business
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AN ONLINE map showing firms and attractions in flood-hit areas which are trading will be launched today in the latest effort to show Yorkshire is open for business despite the winter storms.

The map will show shops, restaurants and hotels which are ready to welcome visitors as the tourist season gets underway in the coming weeks.

It will also be the opportunity for businesses to show that they are still trading despite being in areas hit by the winter floods.

Business owners can apply online to be featured on the map along with their details, opening times and a link through to their website.

The devastating floods over the Christmas holidays saw thousands of businesses across the region hit and many are still struggling to get back on their feet.

But there has also been evidence that the floods have led to a view that huge swathes of Yorkshire are effectively closed, a perception which could prove hugely damaging to the region’s tourism industry.

Kate McMullen, head of tourism at Make It York which works to attract visitors and business to the city, said: “Following the Boxing Day flooding, we saw a dramatic drop in visitor numbers in January.

“It is crucial we work with partners across the region to reassure our customers and re-assert that there’s never been a better time to visit York and Yorkshire.

“This new initiative, as well as a nationwide advertising campaign supported by government and VisitEngland, will make a difference.

“With more events and festivals happening this year than ever before and the homecoming of Flying Scotsman in York last week, we’re confident that the city and region’s tourism sector is already making a speedy and strong recovery.”

Government figures suggest bookings in some flood-hit areas have fallen by as much as 60 per cent.

Earlier this year, Ministers announced a package of measures aimed at supporting the tourism sector in Cumbria and Yorkshire followed the floods.

Prime Minister David Cameron urged British families to spend their Easter holidays in northern England and a £1 million marketing campaign was launched by VisitEngland to spread the message.

James Wharton, the minister responsible for the Government’s northern powerhouse plan to strengthen the economy of the North, said: “We are determined to do everything we can to support those businesses affected by flooding this winter.

“Today’s interactive map does just that, offering the chance for hard-working business owners and customers across Yorkshire to state loud and clear that they are open for business.

“Already nearly 150 businesses have put their pins in the map – I would urge others to follow their lead.”

The interactive ‘Open For Business’ map will feature on the Government website dedicated to the flood recovery effort and it is hoped businesses and customers will share it via Twitter and other social media.

It is hoped the map will help give confidence to people to plan trips to areas knowing that large numbers of attractions and businesses are open for business.

The map is also designed to give people already due to visit the area the most up to date information.