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Agent North – Licensed to thrill

New tourism initiative targets travel agents across the globe

This week sees the launch of Agent North, a new online training programme designed to inspire and educate overseas travel agents and tour operators about Northern England’s tourism destinations. By late summer, 13,000 travel agents in North America, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and China will be licenced to thrill, having completed their course and received their ‘Agent North’ certificate.

Agent North features tourism businesses with commissionable products across York, Yorkshire, the North East, North West and Humberside. It is one of the main activities to be delivered through the Northern Tourism Growth Fund (NTGF) and will be distributed to travel agents to search and book online by Travelport, a Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution, technology, payment, mobile and other solutions for the global travel and tourism industry.

The online training kit is available at and And translations will also shortly be available for Germany, the Netherlands and China which will go live later this month.

Kate McMullen, Head of Tourism, Make It York, said, ‘This brand new online training programme, produced by Make It York in partnership with Visit England and destinations across the North, includes the North’s world-class attractions and events as well as smaller tourism businesses, all offering commission on bookings.

We were delighted to play a leading role in developing this innovative new project, to help ensure travel agents across the world have greater knowledge and increased confidence in selling the North of England to their customers.’

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said, ‘Educating and informing travel agents and tour operators about everything that is on offer in Yorkshire and Northern England is vital as it helps to drive future visitors to the region. Agent North is an excellent way of enticing visitors from several important markets to visit our fantastic countryside and coast, our towns and cities and to spend time at our attractions and events.’

Just some of the many local tourism businesses set to benefit from Agent North include Castle Howard, York’s Chocolate Story and Bettys Café Tea Rooms. Rachel Underwood, Marketing Manager, Castle Howard, said, ‘Being part of the Agent North programme will raise awareness of Castle Howard and result in bookings from the US, Australia, China, Germany and Holland. It’s fantastic to benefit from expertise across the North and to work together to showcase Northern England in these important overseas markets.’

Sally Balcombe, CEO of Visit Britain said, ‘Agent North is a crucial part of our North of England marketing programme designed to inspire and educate travel agents and tour operators to help them promote and importantly book holidays in Northern England. ’

A valuable asset to the programme is an online toolkit, containing maps, a full image library, an extensive range of itineraries, as well as 150 bookable products. As an extra incentive to complete the training, the partner destinations are offering a seven night holiday for two people including return flights in the North of England. The prize draw will be drawn 30 June and the winner will be notified by email.

The Northern Tourism Growth Fund will deliver an additional 3,000 jobs and £177m incremental spend. York is one of 38 destinations delivering NTGF activity which represents the Northern Powerhouse in action.


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of PR and Corporate Communications – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554451 Mobile: 07506 048852

Katie Parsons – Senior Communications Executive – Make It York
Direct Line: 01904 554436

About The Northern Tourism Growth Fund

• A £10m Northern Tourism Growth Fund for tourism investment was announced by Government on the 6th November 2014. The total programme expenditure will be £20m, consisting of the core £10m funding from Central Government and £10m estimated match funding from partners in the public and private sectors. Match funding will be both cash funding and in-kind.

• This fund is being managed by VisitEngland, working closely with international delivery partner VisitBritain and partner organisations from across the North of England, including 38 destinations.

• The aim is to deliver a significant step-change in collaborative working to profile and promote the North of England internationally - through new, targeted and impactful activity which will change perceptions, grow leisure and business visitors, put the assets of the North firmly on the international map and deliver both long term economic impact and the foundations for a lasting legacy for the visitor economy of the North.

• The programme aims to deliver an additional 2m visitor nights to the North of England equating to £177m in international visitor expenditure and create 3,280 jobs.

• The North for this purpose is defined as the old Government Office regions of Yorkshire and Humberside, North West and North East.

• The target markets are: USA, Australia/New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, China

• The Northern Tourism Growth Fund is part of the Government’s wider Northern Powerhouse activity #NorthernPowerhouse

About VisitEngland

• VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors. Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on

• England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84 per cent of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.

• For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit or for consumer information.

About VisitBritain

• VisitBritain is the strategic body for inbound tourism, ensuring that international tourism continues to deliver economic growth and jobs across the nations and regions of Britain.

• Our strength is that we understand international customers and markets. Our international network of offices which covers 22 markets is a resource supporting the industry and destinations to grow the value of tourism exports. We are a founding partner of the GREAT campaign working alongside organisations such as the FCO, UKTI and The British Council.

• Locking in private sector funding: In the last three years we have raised £43 million from commercial partners - airlines, operators and global brands such as the English Premier League and Sony - to match-fund international tourism marketing.

• Customer Focused: Our strength is our understanding of international markets and customers. We know what motivates overseas customers to travel and how to inspire them to choose Britain.

Notes to Editors:

Make It York (York’s Destination Organisation) has an overarching remit to market the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work 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

York - Key tourism facts:
6.8 million visitors annually, £608 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,300 jobs