Royal wedding bid to woo tourists

TOURISM leaders are to use the Royal wedding to inspire people to come to Yorkshire and will today reveal plans for a major publicity campaign based on the history of the monarchy in the region.

Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton will marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29, which has been declared a national holiday.

Welcome to Yorkshire, the region’s tourist board, aims to use the event and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as a catalyst to bring people to the region’s historic attractions, not only castles and landmarks but also renowned hotels where members of the Royal family have stayed.

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The plans are among proposals being launched at Y11 – the annual conference that takes place in Leeds today, attended by more than 1,000 delegates.

It is understood a wedding campaign – separate to the Royal campaign – will also get under way. Ahead of the busy wedding summer season, it is hoped a “one-stop-shop” on the Welcome to Yorkshire website detailing where in the region couples can find anything from venues to dress makers will help capture a slice of the lucrative industry.

The news comes as figures for January this year revealed that the tourism industry is growing despite the struggling economy, compared to January 2010 there were increases in bookings at hotels, B&Bs and self catering establishments while the region’s attractions saw visitor numbers increase 10 per cent.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity said: “Yorkshire is bucking UK trends; we are still seeing growing visitor numbers compared to the national average and the year has started strongly.

“Half term results were very encouraging and 27 per cent of responding accommodation providers said they had seen an increase in weekend bookings recently. So it does look very likely that the staycation is still strong with people choosing the UK for their breaks.

“Recent conversions on our international marketing campaigns have also indicated the good work overseas is paying off. Our activities in 2010 across Spain, German, Italy and the Netherlands have collectively helped generate an additional 4,000 overseas trips to Yorkshire as a direct result of having seen WTY’s marketing, with an equivalent spend of almost £2m.”

Y 11 is the UK’s biggest tourism conference and will be held at The Grand Theatre and Opera House in Leeds.

There are a number of announcements on additional campaigns that will be made. Details are yet to be revealed but it is understood there will be a campaign based on the Olympics in the lead up to the 2012 Games; Yorkshire Arts will be placed firmly in the spotlight; there will be high profile advertising of the region and Welcome to Yorkshire will once again sponsor a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Last year the Welcome to Yorkshire Rhubarb Crumble and Custard Garden took home the People’s Choice Award at the show. It featured a bowl of rhubarb, with a traditional dry stone wall as the crumble topping and it was served with lashings of custard – represented by yellow sedum.

The design was inspired by Yorkshire’s rhubarb triangle – Wakefield, Leeds, Morley, which last year was awarded Protected Designation of Origin status by the European Commission’s Protected Food Name scheme. The move placed Yorkshire-forced rhubarb in the same league as Parma ham and champagne.

A campaign based on the region’s coastline is also understood to be on the cards, aiming to raise the profile of more than 100 miles of golden beaches.

The initiative will bring together the accommodation, beaches and cliff walks together with family seaside resorts.

Entertainment and the arts will also feature heavily, highlighting the Yorkshire coastline as “the place to enjoy this summer”.