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York’s Destination Management Organisation reports on its first year
and reveals future plans

Today (Tuesday 17 May) will see York’s Destination Management Organisation, Make It York, update stakeholders on its first twelve months of activity. Formed one year ago and tasked with helping to improve the economic well-being of the city, Managing Director Steve Brown will address the audience to update on progress made and reveal new campaigns and initiatives for the coming year.

300 leaders from the York business and cultural community will gather at the Royal York Hotel to hear about how the last 12 months have progressed. One year ago Make It York brought together the work then being delivered by Visit York, Science City York (SCY) and City of York Council’s inward investment, business support and events and festivals teams into one new company.

Jane Lady Gibson, Chair of Make It York, said, ‘Our purpose, working collaboratively with businesses, is to develop and promote York – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place. One year on, I am pleased that feedback so far has been positive and that our colleagues and stakeholders can point to examples of how we have created new opportunities.’

The city’s success in the quest to establish a ‘Business Improvement District’ (BID) in York followed more than a year of consultation with businesses. A resounding 76% YES vote was secured to establish the York BID, which, led by businesses and with a new BID Executive Director, Andrew Lowson, at the helm, has the full backing of Make It York.

Speaking at the event Andrew said, ‘There are already over 200 BIDs operating across the UK and the YES vote showed there is a real willingness amongst York businesses to proactively get involved in the city’s future. Through consultation, businesses have already stated where they want improvements and we’ll be learning from other successful UK BIDS. We want a city centre that is competitive whilst pleasant to live in. Working collaboratively with Make it York will be crucial in making the right decisions for businesses in York.’

In December 2015 York celebrated its one year anniversary of being designated a UNESCO City of Media Arts and York is one of the UK’s first super-connected cities. Over the last year the UK’s first Guild of Media Arts has been formed and a new Media Arts Award, as well as a new Digital Adventurers initiative for young people. A new annual Cultural Awards has also been launched; the first event will be held on 1 December at the Central Methodist Church in York and has actor Mark Addy as its patron.

The ambition is now to double the size of York’s thriving creative economy from £164.8 million to £329.6 million by 2025.

On the business and inward investment front 2015/16, audiences will hear today that the Make It York business team supported over 400 individual businesses with help and advice on start-up and growth, access to over £398K of investment finance, skills and training, recruitment and international trade and property search. Responding to the Boxing Day flooding 162 businesses across York and North Yorkshire accessed flood recovery funding through awards worth £487K.
York’s Inward Investment ‘story’ has also been brought up to date over the last year. A new Inward Investment brochure was launched last month and is currently being distributed to 2,000 potential investors in the UK and oversees. Also in support of businesses a new weekly ‘York Business Hour’, broadcast on Vale Radio online and available as a podcast, has been launched. Added to this a new collaboration with Hiscox has led to 30 small businesses taking up office space within the new Hiscox building, supporting and helping young businesses to grow.

On the tourism front, the audience will hear that over the last three years an estimated £60 million incremental spend for York has been achieved through the Growing Tourism Locally initiative, led through the Visit York brand and in partnership with VisitEngland. New festivals and events were also brought to the city for the first time such as the hugely popular Great Yorkshire Fringe in July, a new Easter Festival and a much extended York St Nicholas Christmas Festival.

Audiences will hear that the aim to achieve a £1billion tourism sector for York by 2024 is on track and a 12 month campaign to market the North of England in key international markets, supported by a £10m Fund and managed by VisitEngland, is expected to pay dividends this year too.

In March 2016 Make It York launched York’s crowdfunding platform at the city’s historic Bedern Hall. This new initiative is a part of Spacehive; a national crowdfunding platform with a mission to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to bring their civic environment to life. The first two projects have successfully met their fundraising targets, with the Rigg Monument becoming the very first York Hive project to reach its target, paving the way for further community collaboration and positive developments in the city. Starting with £3,093.00 in the pot, the Rigg Monument successfully raised a further £10,794.00 from 80 pledges upon the launch of the York Hive.

The Arts Barge followed, reaching its fundraising target of £23,440.00 10 days in advance of the deadline. £15,990.00 of this figure has been raised since the launch of the York Hive. Since the launch of the York Hive initiative a total of £34,909.00 has been raised for five of the projects from 445 pledges.

Managing Director Steve Brown said, ‘The best things about our first year have been the new projects we have initiated, the York Hive for example. We have enjoyed working with a number of partners and our mission in year two is to collaborate even more with as many people and projects as possible.’

Further to this, today Steve Brown will project forward 12 months, discussing specific items that need to be delivered on. This includes demonstrating progress in turning around the Shambles Market, delivering a proactive inward investment plan, planning and delivering an exceptional Christmas and working more closely and constructively with York’s small businesses. In addition, plans to deliver a first-class Venturefest Yorkshire event in November and a highly successful Culture Awards in December are also a key focus.

Also today audiences will hear about a new tourism campaign: York - the original city adventure, aiming to entice visitors to plan their very own adventures in the city and its surroundings; everything from taking a trip on the Flying Scotsman, to exploring the new look Art Gallery, to making chocolate at York’s Chocolate Story. This brand new campaign will be supported by Virgin Trains East Coast, North Yorkshire county council and City of York council. Also being unveiled today will be the premiere of a new campaign video of the city, produced by York based agency Hewitt & Walker.

Plans are also afoot to create a new ambassador programme to help promote inward investment in the city.


Notes to Editor

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as an exciting place to live, visit, study and do business. The remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand.
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

VisitYork4meetings is a part of Make It York and is the business tourism brand.
Under the brand VisitYork4meetings Make It York’s aim is to market York as a quality destination for conferences, meetings and events.

Science City York is a part of Make It York and is the business and innovation brand which supports the city and its surroundings’ creative, science and technology businesses.
Under the Science City brand, Make It York’s aim is to promote York as a great place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation and to stimulate greater inward investment.

Make It York will also work with businesses across a range of other sectors, such as financial and professional service and rail and high value manufacturing, to stimulate growth.

Key tourism facts:
6.7 million visitors annually, £573 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs.

Key business tourism facts:
An estimated 16,900 business events are attended by a million business event visitors annually
£148.9m spent at venues and in the local destination.

Key business & investment facts:
The York economy is currently worth £4.75billion (GVA), supporting around 8,105 businesses and 114,000 jobs.

The BID will carry out a wide range of improvements for York city centre from April 2016, led by newly appointed BID Managing Director, Andrew Lowson. Establishing the BID will create a fund of about £4m to spend on projects and services over the next five years, with the money being raised through a 1% levy on the rateable value of each business premise in the city centre.

Corporate Sponsors of the Make It York annual stakeholder event include:
Deans Computer Services
Morrell Middleton Accountants
Ware and Kay
Eboracum Security
The Royal York Hotel
Lazenby Brown
New Vision Group