Welcome to Yorkshire’s cash crisis and Sir Gary Verity’s legacy – The Yorkshire Post says

AS news emerges that Sir Gary Verity will face no further police action after he left under a cloud from his role as chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, it is a reflection of the damage caused by his flaws that the new team – chairman Peter Box and chief executive James Mason in particular – are scrabbling to save the ailing agency.

Sir Gary Veritiy is the former chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. Police have said that he's not to face criminal charges over his use of expenses.

Misgivings that have emerged this week are both fundamental and profound as rural councils like East Riding, Ryedale and Hambleton – all areas dependent on tourism – no longer feel able to support WTY and start to question its purpose at this time.

And that is the first question that needs to be reconciled after all 20 local authorities did not stump up the £1.4m demanded by Mr Box this week. Why? If a more effective dialogue with councils can still be forged, what do town halls want in return? Relationships matter. So, too, does trust.

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Then the tourism body needs to show a willingness to work with others who do have the specialist skills to assist in what is a common goal – Yorkshire’s marketing to the world.

James Mason is the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

By way of example, 10 million unique users visit the websites of The Yorkshire Post, and its sister titles, each month. In contrast, the WTY website Yorkshire.com, says Mr Box, receives just 10 million visitors a year. This newspaper stands ready to help.

Then, transparency. Though Covid-19 has presented unique difficulties, WTY has to be more open. It is no longer its own ‘judge and jury’.

The regret is that it has taken another crisis, and at this time, for it to grasp that its stakeholders – both councils and private members – want a return on their money and trust when this was so self-evident last summer. A swift resolution has to be be found if WTY’s new team is to prove itself. If not, the problems will become irreconcilable – they’re that serious – and its demise will further imperil the jobs associated with this £9bn a year industry.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

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Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson