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Meeting date:


Report of:

Corporate Director of Place

Portfolio of:

Cllr Kilbane, Executive Member for Transport and Economy

Decision Report: York Tourism Strategy: A vision for tourism in York: 2032

Subject of Report


1.           The report outlines the York Tourism Strategy that the Tourism Advisory Board (“TAB”) have developed with industry partners, considers its strategic fit with the Council Plan Priorities, and recommends that Executive ask Full Council to adopt the strategy on behalf of the city. 


2.           The report also provides an update on the joint work with North Yorkshire Council, Make It York and the shadow Combined Authority to establish a Local Visitor Economy Partnership for York and North Yorkshire (“YNYLVEP”), and the collaborative arrangements in place for developing and implementing the YNYLVEP.


Benefits and Challenges


3.           York’s Tourism Strategy (see Annex A) is focused on five Key Priorities with specific ambitions for the city:

1)   A Regenerative Visitor Economy: York is a responsible, robust, and profitable destination with a regenerative visitor economy.

2)   Green York: Our businesses and visitors’ commitment proactively contributes to York’s transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

3)   Culture: York is renowned for its heritage, culture, and cutting-edge approach to creativity, which attracts cultural tourists and supports the city’s regenerative visitor economy.

4)   Residents and Localhood: Local people experience the very best of their city alongside its visitors, with tourism contributing to the quality of life in York and beyond.

5)   Skills and recruitment: The visitor economy is a first-choice career for school leavers and graduates, businesses invest in upskilling, training and career development, and commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.

4.           Endorsing the new Tourism Strategy will support partners across York to work together in delivering these key priorities.  It will also provide a clear policy statement for the city to inform collaborative working with neighbouring authorities and the emerging York & North Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Policy Basis for Decision


5.           The development of a new Tourism Strategy for York is a recommended outcome in the York 2032 10-year strategy, the Economic Strategy, and the Climate Change Strategy.  All highlight the need to focus on regenerative green tourism, to develop the value of tourism, rather than its volume, and the importance of employment in the visitor economy to York’s residents.

6.           The Council Plan 2023-27 – One City, for all, includes two specific commitments on tourism:

a)    to work with the tourism and hospitality sector to explore new revenue streams and a ‘green’ tourist levy to benefit residents and the hospitality sector; and

b)   to work with the TAB to promote York as a sustainable destination, updating the 10-year Tourism Strategy to include green tourism and sustainable travel.

7.           The Council Plan also states that “being clear on our priorities now will help us over the decade ahead as we continue to build a supportive and collaborative relationship with our local and regional partners”.  Strong partnership working will be critical to the successful delivery of the Tourism Strategy and to progressing collaborative work with neighbouring authorities and the emerging York & North Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

8.           In developing the Tourism Strategy, stakeholders have considered the key Council commitments of Equalities, Affordability, Climate & Environment and Health.  The Key Priorities of the Strategy are well aligned to these Council commitments as follows:

a)   Equalities and Human Rights are a big component of the Strategy, featuring in both the Culture and Residents and Localhood Key Priorities.  There are commitments to broadening participation and access, celebrating inclusion, and providing more opportunities for marginalised groups.

b)   Affordability and the importance of tourism and hospitality businesses as employers is addressed in the Skills and Recruitment and Localhood Key Priorities. The Strategy seeks to broaden access to fair and rewarding job opportunities for all.

c)   Climate & Environment is addressed through the Strategy, which has a strong focus on reducing the environmental impacts of tourism and promoting York as a world-leading city in its commitment to environmental sustainability.  Key outcomes of the Strategy, summarised under the Green York Key Priority, include commitments to grow the use of public transport and increase green accreditation of tourism and hospitality businesses.

d)   Health and Wellbeing is addressed through the Strategy, with the health and wellbeing benefits of cultural participation, access to rewarding jobs and a greener city all highlighted. 

Financial Strategy Implications


9.           This is a city strategy rather than a Council strategy. There are no direct impacts on the Council’s Financial Strategy. 


Recommendation and Reasons


10.        It is recommended that the Executive:

a)   Thank the TAB for their work in preparing a new York Tourism Strategy and recommend the strategy to Full Council so that it can be adopted on behalf of the city.

Reason: To recognise the work undertaken by TAB and industry partners in preparing the strategy, and to support the growth of the York economy and the Council’s priorities of affordability, environment, equalities and human rights, and health and wellbeing.


b)   Note the YNYLVEP status and the requirement to work collaboratively with North Yorkshire Council to prepare a YNY LVEP Year 1 Growth Action Plan and a framework which aligns the York Tourism Strategy and the North Yorkshire Destination Management Plan by 31st March 2024; and

c)   delegate the sign off for York input to the collaborative work on the YNYLVEP Growth Action Plan/YNYLVEP Framework, and any subsequent modifications and/or extensions thereto, to the Corporate Director of Place (and their delegated officers) in consultation and input with other Directors (and their delegated officers) where required.

Reason:    To enable collaborative work on the YNLVEP to continue with North Yorkshire Council and Make It York.



11.        The development of a new Tourism Strategy for York is included as an objective in the Service Level Agreement between the Council and Make It York, with specific reference to the work taking place through the TAB.

12.        The Tourism Strategy has been developed by the TAB through a series of consultation workshops, and with the support of York St John University.  Its starting point was a NAO report developed by Group for Make It York in 2019.

13.        Across York and North Yorkshire, over 60,000 people are employed in tourism businesses, with many thousands more jobs indirectly supported by the visitor economy, for example in retail and transport.  Close to 40 million people come to the region each year as day visitors 5 million make overnight stays.  In total, tourism is estimated to contribute £3bn to the York and North Yorkshire economy each year, with half of that figure being spent in York.

Consultation Analysis


14.        Extensive consultation has taken place through the Tourism Advisory Board, which is an open board with representatives from tourism and hospitality businesses, public sector bodies, Elected Members, universities, and colleges.  The Group NAO report from 2019 also included community engagement and open public meetings to inform its recommendations.  


15.        These consultations informed the development of the draft Strategy, which was approved by the Tourism Advisory Board at its October 2023 meeting.

16.     The draft Strategy was presented to Economy, Place, Access, and Transport Policy and Scrutiny Committee on 28 November 2023.  The recommendations from the Scrutiny Committee are attached as Annex B, together with the amendments that were made by TAB following those recommendations at Annex C.

Options Analysis and Evidential Basis


17.        There are two options for Members to consider:

a)   reject the Tourism Strategy; or

b)   accept the Strategy on behalf of the city and work with stakeholders to deliver its commitments.

18.        Option (a) would leave the Strategy as work completed by the TBA, but without adoption by the Council on behalf of the city.  This would weaken the commitment of partners to deliver the Strategy.

19.        Option (b) would support stakeholders to deliver the commitments and ensure that Council work on tourism has its greatest potential impact.

Organisational Impact and Implications




·                    Financial

There are no financial implications to the recommendations of this report.


·                    Human Resources (HR)

There are no HR implications to the recommendations of this report.

·                    Legal

o   The decisions taken in response to this report are likely to have a significant impact on two or more electoral wards in York and should therefore be treated as Key Decisions in line with paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 of Article 7 (Decision Making) and Appendix 1 (Scheme of Delegation) of the Constitution.

o   Article 7 (Decision Making) and Appendix 1 (Scheme of Delegation) of the Constitution go on to confirm that Key Decisions are the responsibility of the Executive.

o   The authority to approve, adopt amend, monitor and /or review the plans, strategies and policies which together make up the Council’s Policy Framework is reserved to Full Council, which is why approval to adopt the city-wide York Tourism Strategy should be referred up to Full Council.

o   Decision makers may only make a key decision in accordance with the requirements of the Financial Procedure Rules, the Contract Procedure Rules, the Executive Procedure Rules, and the Access to Information Procedure Rules set out in Appendices 4, 5, 7, 10, 10a, and 11 of this Constitution.

o   In terms of the continuing collaborative work with North Yorkshire Council, Make It York Limited, and the shadow York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority for the purposes of the establishing the YNYLEP, the General Power of Competence under Section 1(1) of the Localism Act 2011 gives local authorities the power to do anything that individuals may generally do.

o   The Council however needs to ensure that there are robust governance arrangements in place for any partnership or joint working arrangement in which they participate. Advice from the Council’s Legal Services department should be sought where necessary on the interpretation of the Constitution, and also with regards to the establishment YNYLEP, including the YNYLVEP Growth Action Plan/YNYLVEP Framework.

·                    Procurement

Whilst there are no direct procurement implications relating to the Tourism Strategy itself, should any services of works be required to assist with the strategy that are not already covered within the Service Level Agreement the Council holds with Make it York, these must be procured via a compliant, open, transparent, and fair process in accordance with the council’s Contract Procedure Rules and where applicable, the Public Contract Regulations 2015. If required, further advice regarding the procurement process and development of procurement strategies must be sought from the Commercial Procurement team. 

·                    Health and Wellbeing

A member of the public health team has reviewed this report and the attached draft tourism strategy. The report highlights three public health implications of the strategy; cultural participation, access to rewarding jobs, and a greener city for all. No other major public health implications have been identified.

·                    Environment and Climate action

York’s tourism sector plays an important role in contributing towards the ambition for the city to be net zero and climate ready by 2030. Reducing emissions associated with our visitors and residents is critical to achieving this ambition, as is the wider environmental impact as a result of people travelling to the city.

The Tourism Strategy acknowledges this role, with ‘Green York’ recognised as a priority area. The strategy ambition for ‘[o]ur businesses and visitors’ commitment proactively contributes to York’s transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2030,’ aligns with the ambitions of the Climate Change Strategy.   

·                    Affordability


Affordabilityand the importance of tourism and hospitality businesses as employers is addressed in the Skills and Recruitment and Localhood Key Priorities, and seeks to broaden access to fair and rewarding job opportunities for all.  This strategy will ensure that there are cultural and creative activities that residents and visitors can benefit from throughout their lives, to support their wellbeing and to tackle barriers to engagement, as well as development of associated skills and employment opportunities.

·                    Equalities and Human Rights,


The Council recognises, and needs to take into account its Public Sector Equality Duty under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other prohibited conduct; advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it and foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it in the exercise of a public authority’s functions).


An EIA for the strategy was undertaken in consultation with the TAB and is attached as Appendix D.

·                    Data Protection and Privacy

As there is no personal data, special categories of personal data or criminal offence data being processed for the development of York Tourism Strategy, there is no requirement to complete a DPIA.   This is evidenced by completion of DPIA screening questions.

·                    Communications

There are no resourcing implications of this specific report for the Communications Service which continues to play a partnership role in matters relating to tourism across the city

Risks and Mitigations


21.        No identified risks.


Wards Impacted


22.        The strategy covers the whole city.




Contact details


For further information please contact the authors of this Decision Report.





Kathryn Daly

Job Title:

Head of City Development

Service Area:

City Development


01904 554153

Report approved:







Simon Brereton

Job Title:

Head of Economy

Service Area:

City Development


Please insert

Report approved:




Background papers


Economic Strategy and Tourism Strategy Update Report to Economy, Place, Access, and Transport Policy and Scrutiny Committee, item 14 on 28 November 023



Annex A: York Tourism Strategy - A vision for tourism in York: 2032  


Annex B:  Minutes and recommendations from Scrutiny, November 2023


Annex C: Response to Scrutiny Recommendations


Annex D: Equalities Impact Assessment