It is acknowledgement of the difficulties still confronting the tourism body following the downfall of Sir Gary Verity and related scandals over his expenses, behaviour and use of taxpayers’ money.
That Mr Mason accepts “the need for transparency going forward”, and will earn over £100,000 less than Sir Gary’s £243,000 salary, is early evidence that he intends to reform the management of an organisation which did itself no favours whatsoever when it tried (and failed) to be its own judge and jury prior to former Wakefield Council leader Peter Box’s appointment as chair.
Rest assured, this newspaper, for one, will hold the new CEO to account on this new commitment to trust in the hope that the Welcome to Yorkshire brand can be salvaged after such a troubling and disturbing year over its probity.
In this respect, it is important that Mr Mason works with all stakeholders, ranging from local B&B proprietors to iconic cultural institutions like Northern Ballet, whose chief executive, Mark Skipper, has been highlighting a North-South divide in arts funding.
And this will be an early test for Mr Mason, given his background in sport. Though an effective chief operating officer at Bradford City Football Club who broadened the diversity of the team’s fan base, he needs to allay those who believe that WTY became obsessive over cycling. As such, it is hoped that he can place as much emphasis on arts, culture, heritage and food and drink as his predecessor applied to the successful staging of cycle races. If so, there’s no reason why Yorkshire’s tourism industry, already worth a reputed £9bn a year, cannot enjoy sustained success throughout the 2020s.