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New business tourism drive launched for York

A new tourism drive to attract business visitors, conferences and events to the city is being launched by Make It York this week. The campaign has been planned to significantly increase the value of business tourism in the city and to pro-actively target high profile business events.

VisitYork4Meetings which is the business tourism brand for Make It York is charged with promoting the city as a world class destination for conferences, meetings and events, currently worth £145.5million annually.

A key element of the campaign is membership of the International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA), opening up access to its extensive database of international associations; a key priority for York. Laura Freer, Business Tourism Marketing Manager, said, “Membership of ICCA will enable us to specifically target high profile, large scale residential conferences in sectors that the city has strong specialisms in such as high tech rail, biosciences and healthcare innovation. The creative, digital and IT industries will also be targeted on the strength of York’s UNESCO City of Media Arts accreditation.”

VisitYork4Meetings has also invested in a new enquiry system, Gratis, a global web based booking system which matches venues and buyers, making booking York a quicker and seamless process. Meanwhile, Incentive England, a new marketing campaign, funded by the Discover England Fund, through a partnership led by VisitEngland, will inspire London based Destination Management Companies (DMCs) to book York.

Laura explained, “Incentive Travel is a reward for corporate sales teams and in the UK is currently valued at £1.2 billion annually. York is really well placed to benefit from this lucrative market, where companies spend on average £800 per person per trip. Companies are looking to book high end luxury trips and York offers a wealth of unrivalled experiences, attractions and high quality accommodation and dining experiences, ideal for this high value incentive travel sector.”

VisitYork4Meetings has recently hosted a workshop for forty tourism businesses such as the Grand Hotel, Principal York, Bettys Café Tea Rooms and The Yorkshire Chauffeur Company, all of which are keen to gain a slice of the Incentive pie.

Phillip Bolson, General Manager, The Grand Hotel and Spa, said, “We’re committed to working with Visityork4Meetings to become incentive ready. And joining up with other businesses in the city means we can offer ready-made packages and support local businesses to maximise the benefits these trips will bring for York.”

A suite of six short films will be launched by VisitEngland to promote England’s Incentive tourism product this summer, including historical England, Cultural England and Luxurious England. This will then be followed up by a series of familiarisation visits when influential buyers from DMCs in London will be hosted in the partner cities. VisitYork4Meetings will be putting together itineraries to educate them about York and the extensive business tourism product it has to offer.

A new website will be also be launched this summer;, incorporating online tools for DMC’s to access when planning incentive trips.

Also this month, VisitYork4Meetings will exhibit at The Meetings Show, Olympia, London, partnering with Conference Leeds, to meet with UK and International buyers and aims to generate two hundred new conference and event leads. The stand at this three day event which takes place 13 – 15 June will incorporate a beer garden theme serving locally produced real ale from York Brewery.

Steve Brown, Managing Director, Make It York, said, ‘We have invested just over £40k in several new initiatives to attract more business events to the city and raise our profile as a conference and events destination. In this new campaign we will pro-actively sell York to potential buyers and make the most of our partnership with Incentive England as DMC’s have huge potential for York. We will constantly strive to be innovative and look at new approaches to grow this sector.”

Incentive England, led by VisitEngland will target the incentive travel market from China, North America and the Middle East, developing all-encompassing incentive itineraries, putting English tourism product on the incentive tourism map. The Incentive England project, led by VisitEngland, also includes Farnborough, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon and Liverpool.

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