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York benefits from New International Tourism Drive

York is being showcased to an international audience of travel agents, tour operators and media as part of a brand new drive to increase overseas tourism to the city. This new international campaign, funded by the Northern Tourism Growth Fund, is being led by the national tourism agency VisitEngland, working closely with VisitBritain and other destinations from across the North.

Make It York is one of a number of destinations involved in a programme of activity, working closely with VisitBritain and partner destinations from across the region. The £10m Northern Tourism Growth Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.

This week Make It York will be putting the focus on China, when Leisure Marketing Manager Michelle Brown flies out to Beijing, to attend the Destination Britain China event there (23-26 November). Michelle will have a schedule of appointments, meeting with one hundred tour operators from mainland China and Hong Kong to convince them to put York into their 2017 programmes.

Flying the flag for York in China is the latest in a host of new international marketing activity launched this winter which has already seen York showcased to one hundred travel writers and travel bloggers at ‘Meet the US media’ in New York in October and to one hundred tour operators at the ‘Destination Britain America’ show in Cancun Mexico in September.

Joining Michelle on this sales mission to China will be Rachel Underwood, Marketing Manager, Castle Howard, which since the wedding of Taiwanese Popstar Jay Chou, has seen unprecedented interest from China. Rachel said, ‘We’re delighted to be a key partner in this new overseas marketing drive, increasing awareness of York and beyond to travel operators overseas. This is also an excellent opportunity for us to target the Chinese market and all of this activity is excellent news for us and for York’s wider tourism sector.’

Between now and March 2016, Make It York will be marketing the city and its surroundings to international travel and tourism buyers from the United States, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. In total these tourism events are providing York and the North of England with opportunities to meet up and do business with over 500 international buyers and media from six key oversees target markets. York businesses partnering with Make It York on this new international campaign include York Minster, York Designer Outlet, the National Railway Museum, Castle Howard, JORVIK, York’s Chocolate Story and the Grand Hotel & Spa.

Kate McMullen, Head of Consumer Products and Marketing, Make It York, said ‘We’re delighted to play a key role in this new overseas marketing drive for the North of England. By meeting with international buyers and media face to face, we’re confident we can make sure York and the North of England is high on the must visit list of international visitors for 2016 and beyond.’

James Berresford, Chief Executive of Visit England, said, ‘York is rich in history and heritage and so well suited to deliver tourism product for these markets. Working in partnership with the European Tour Operator Association, VisitBritain, UK Inbound and our partners across the North of England, we’re committed to raising the profile and maximising direct bookings to York; promoting it as a fantastic place to visit as well as putting the assets of the North firmly on the map.’

Following the event in China and closer to home, York will be represented at a ‘Super MarketPlace event in Harrogate on 8 December. Sixty tourism suppliers who exemplify the very best that the North can offer will be promoting their venues and attractions to sixty UKInbound travel buyers, who don’t currently feature the North on their website or in their itineraries.

As part of its international marketing drive Make It York also recently created the city’s first travel guide in Mandarin, as well as a new destination video for York in Chinese, which has now generated over 500,000 online views. ENDS

For further information please contact:

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

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

Notes To The Editor:

Recent Make It York marketing activity in China has already included:
• Attendance at the VisitBritain China Sales Mission in Guangzhou, Western China, in November 2014.
• A new ‘York and Beyond’ itinerary in simplified Mandarin which presents a five star three day stay in York, taking in shopping on the Shambles, top attractions, afternoon tea options and fine dining. The itinerary is distributed by VisitBritain China to its travel trade and tour operator contacts and via its Chinese social media channels, Weibo and Wechat.
• Tour itineraries at
• Make It York is also working with partners to improve information available to visitors from China in Chinese. Chinese visitors to the UK travel either in groups of 25-35 on a 7-12 day package tour, in smaller groups with bespoke itineraries or independently – independent travel is one of the fastest growing sectors, attracting younger audiences, affluent and educated with a keen interest in luxury travel and shopping.

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

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.

Chinese Tourism Facts – the national picture
• Outbound travel from China has grown steadily over the past five years and is forecast to continue to do so for the remainder of this decade. China is now the most lucrative outbound market in the world, spending $164.9bn in 2014 on overseas travel.
• The number of Chinese visits to the UK has almost doubled in the last five years (from 89,000 in 2009 to 185,000 in 2014). Growth in tourism from China, however, is only in its early stages of development. However the UK has seen 20% year on year growth over the past few years and China has been one of the fastest growing source markets for the UK tourism industry.[1]
• In total there were 179,000 Chinese visits to the UK in 2012.
• In 2014 there were 185,000 visits to the UK.
• In China, one of the most recent trends is to travel in groups (Mum and dad, two sets of grandparents and child) - often with a view to looking at property in the UK and researching a future University for the child.

York Visitor Survey:
• York has 6.7 million visitors annually. The top five overseas markets for York are US, Australia, Germany, Netherlands and France.
• China is now estimated to be York’s 10th largest overseas market and for the first time is featuring in the top ten overseas markets coming to York, since 2011. We estimate China moved up 9 places in the rankings over the last ten years, however, further research is needed to estimate actual visitor numbers to York from China.

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, study, visit 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.

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