Yorkshire courts Asia’s travel consultants

WELCOME to Yorkshire, the official destination management organisation for Yorkshire county in the UK, is looking to boost relations with the travel trade in Asia through a series of annual trade missions held in conjunction with VisitBritain.

This year’s edition will see Welcome to Yorkshire embark on a trip to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing in the third quarter, to meet up with top local buyers and tourism officials to discuss the possibility of creating packages to Yorkshire.

Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily on the sidelines of the Singapore leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, in which Welcome to Yorkshire is participating as a yacht sponsor for an entire year, the organisation’s CEO, Gary Verity, said about 12 representatives consisitng of key suppliers from attractions, museums, art galleries and transport providers in Yorkshire would be attending the mission.

“We want to debunk the myth that Yorkshire – which includes the cities of Leeds, Bradford, Ripon, York, Hull, Sheffield and Wakefield – is a faraway destination,” he said. “There are about 220 trains a day between London and Yorkshire, with each journey taking less than two hours, while a train ride from Manchester (Airport) only takes about 30 minutes.”

“Most of our longhaul traffic comes through Manchester or London airports, with connections by train or rail. Some come through Leeds Bradford International Airport via Amsterdam on Royal Dutch KLM flights,” he added.

According to Verity, Yorkshire’s top markets in Asia include China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The county’s international visitor profile consists mostly of leisure travellers, some business travellers, as well as families visiting international students studying in one of the nine universities in the area.

Yorkshire saw a 22 per cent increase in international visitor numbers in 2011 compared to 2010, with a significant portion of growth coming from Asia, said Verity. Overseas visitors contributed 3.2 million arrivals and £637 million (US$1 billion) in tourism receipts.

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