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Best in Yorkshire Accolade For York’s Visitor Centre

It’s official – York has the best Visitor Centre in the county – that was the winning announcement made at the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Tourism awards last night, held in the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate. Hundreds of tourism businesses waited expectantly for the results at this glittering awards ceremony, the largest celebration of tourism excellence in the UK.

Suzy Johnson, Visitor Information Centre Manager, said, ‘Winning the Best in Yorkshire award, is such a superb tribute and well deserved accolade to our expert tourism team. We pride ourselves on our excellent knowledge, eleven spoken languages and friendly and welcoming staff.’

York’s Visitor Centre offers a variety of services including; accommodation bookings, the York Pass, tickets for events and concerts, day trip bookings to the Yorkshire Dales and the rest of Yorkshire, National Express bookings, Megabus bookings, as well as an online eShop – all of this in addition to advice on what to see and do in the city.

Nine staff and 30 volunteers - with over one hundred years of service between them - offer help and advice to visitors 362 days per year every day of the week. Karen Gordon, Joint Visitor Centre Manager, celebrated 25 years at the frontline of visitor information this week, so tourism chiefs say winning this award is particularly special for the whole team.

Karen said, ‘When I first started here there were no computers; now we have a state of the art centre with brilliant online information and social media too, however, nothing can replace meeting our customers face to face and seeing them enjoy all that York has to offer – this is the real joy of working in tourism in York and we’re passionate about what we do. I guess that’s why I’ve been here for 25 years!’

Kate McMullen, Head of Visit York, said, ‘a record breaking half a million visitors each year come through the Information Centre doors and Visit York aims to give each and every one the same expert advice and warm welcome. We’re thrilled our dedication to visitor information has been rewarded with this accolade.’

Since opening in May 2010, footfall through the Visit York Information Centre is up by 9% on the previous year for the year to date (Jan-September).


For further information please contact:

Kay Hyde – Head of Pr and Corporate Communications – Visit York
Direct Line: 01904 554451
Mobile: 07506 048852

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

Notes To The Editor

The latest (September) York tourism figures showed for the third month in a row, hotels posted a new record in monthly average room occupancy rate, at 92.1% which is 2% higher than September 2013 and 0.1% higher than the record set last month. This resulted in the third quarter of this year (June to September) reaching the highest ever quarterly scores for both room occupancy (at 91.9%, 2% higher than the previous record of 90% set in quarter 3 of 2013) and for average room rate (at £87.52, more than £3 higher than the previous record which has stood for 3 years, set in quarter 3 of 2011).

Overall visits to attractions were just 0.3% below those seen in September 2013, our best ever year, with 229, 676 visitors through the doors of the eight largest attractions and 20,514 through the doors of the smaller attractions. For the sixth month in a row, we saw growth in the number of sessions on vs the previous year. In September there were 178,528 sessions, 13% more than in September 2013, taking the year to date performance up to 11% more than the same period last year.

Tourism Facts:
The top five ranked overseas countries visiting York are the USA, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and France. Although there has been some fluctuation in the order of the countries listed, these five have remained consistently high in the rankings. Canada is the only other country to be in the top five more than once in the last five years but has slipped down the rankings more recently. The United States has consistently been the number one overseas market for York for the last ten years, although the gap is narrowing between the US and second placed Australia as the Australian market grows at some pace.

Economic impact results for the full calendar year for 2013 will be published late in the year, however, early indications from Visit York’s hotel occupancy and attractions surveys are positive, with both surveys anticipated to show a record year.

• Visit York is supported by City of York Council and over 700 tourism businesses and works in partnership with VisitEngland.

• Visit York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure and business visitor, and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York. Visit York is responsible for leisure and conference marketing, visitor services (running the city’s Visitor Information Centre), training and ensuring a quality visitor experience.

• Visit York is the driving force of the city’s tourism industry. Key facts: 7 million visitors annually, £606 million total visitor spend, supporting 20,000 jobs