How a ‘summer of staycations’ could boost North Yorkshire’s tourist gems, from glamping to holiday homes

The tourism sector in Yorkshire is worth around £9billion and employs some 224,000 people in some of the country’s best-loved locations, from national parks to seaside resorts.

Now, after a surge last summer in ‘stay-at-home’ holidays amid uncertainty over overseas travel, a concerted effort is underway to highlight North Yorkshire’s tourist gems.

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As the countdown begins for the start of the summer season, with schools closing this month, authorities are looking to exploit an element of loyalty among visitors.

Katy and Skot Doman with their four-year-old daughter Ava, pictured at Tylas Farm north of Helmsley where they launched a luxury glamping business called The Lazy T last year

He said: “We have a host of tourist destinations in North Yorkshire that are hard to top anywhere else in the country, and we should be really grateful for that.

“We have two national parks covering the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors as well as some of the country’s most treasured seaside towns including Scarborough, Whitby and Filey, and this summer is an opportunity to make sure we can bring in people. holidaymakers who can experience the wonderful places North Yorkshire has to offer.

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The decision on a potential new tourist agency for Yorkshire will not be made until the autumn…

Katy and Skot Doman with their four-year-old daughter Ava, pictured at Tylas Farm north of Helmsley where they launched a luxury glamping business called The Lazy T last year

Starting a luxury glamping business on the family farm, in the midst of a global pandemic, Katy Doman has attempted a lifelong ambition that she hopes can only grow.

The Lazy T was launched last June at Tylas Farm, in an idyllic setting north of Helmsley where parents Jane and Ivan Holmes tend a herd of beef cattle.

There is a new cabin and a five meter dome tent, as well as a chalet and a second tent which will arrive in the coming weeks. All last summer, the accommodation was full.

For Ms Doman, along with her husband Skot and their four-year-old daughter Ava, the hope is that the success of last summer can be sustained, even if travel restrictions ease.

Scarborough seafront at night.

The couple had been planning The Lazy T for years, she said, and while the pandemic put so many through a tough time, it gave them the chance to achieve their ambition.

Already, she says, they have noticed a significant change this year. Bookings are coming in from the north of England, and in particular Yorkshire, as people seek to stay closer to home.

“A lot of people are struggling with the cost of living, and they don’t want to have a lavish vacation abroad, so they’re looking more and more to places like us,” she said.

“This is obviously very good news for the tourism industry here in the UK, and we hope this will be a trend in the future, as people are also looking to protect the environment by not traveling long distances around the world for a holiday.”

Sam Asher and Sian Jones, who run Baytown Holiday Cottages in Robin Hood’s Bay.

Tourism is the biggest industry in the village of Robin Hood’s Bay, famous for its 18th century smuggling history and the secret tunnels beneath its quaint cobbled streets.

Tens of thousands of visitors descend each summer, exploring the coastline or enjoying the area’s independent shops, galleries and cafes.

Sam Asher, along with business partner Sian Jones, opened his first vacation home in 2017, with his Baytown Holiday Cottages portfolio since growing to 22 properties.

Last year they had a banner year for bookings. Now they hope to see a bumper summer again, with holidaymakers staying in the UK.

Mr Asher said: “Just a few months ago things were pretty quiet but I think people have taken stock as finances have gotten tighter and tighter and they were just waiting to see exactly what they could afford.

Sam Asher and Sian Jones, who manage Baytown Holiday Cottages in Robin Hoods Bay.

“We have seen bookings increase significantly, and we have already opened our calendar for bookings for next year, which is much earlier than normal as we were getting so many enquiries.

“It seems that more and more people are looking to book a UK holiday, which is obviously very good news, and hopefully a trend that will continue for years to come.”

Yorkshire tourism marketing remains at a crossroads after Welcome to Yorkshire was set up in March as council leaders in the region withdrew their funding.

Entrepreneur Robin Scott has bought the Welcome to Yorkshire brand, although it is thought his efforts should center on the Yorkshire.com website.

Coun Les, who sat as a member of the tourism body’s board during its heyday, confirmed that council leaders had “positive” discussions with Mr Scott about his plans.

Authorities are also exploring the potential for a new tourism body for the region, he said. A decision on creating a new destination management organization for Yorkshire is expected to be taken by council leaders later this year, potentially in the autumn.

It comes after findings from Visit England suggested that a third of people plan to make more overnight trips to the UK in the coming year, although the organization also found that 23% also plan to make more overnight trips abroad as restrictions ease.

North Yorkshire’s tourism economy signaled a much-needed boost last summer as uncertainty continued around overseas travel and with rapidly changing restrictions.

Now holidaymakers face a balancing act with the start of school holidays amid a growing cost-of-living crisis that has further strained family budgets.

With recent reports of chaotic scenes at some airports across the country and flight cancellations due to staffing shortages, the NYCC is looking to defend its staycation offer.

Susan Briggs is director of the Tourism Network, working with over 1,000 businesses in North Yorkshire.

The sector has been hit hard by the pandemic and with repeated closures, she said, but with the easing of restrictions last summer, more and more people are looking to vacation in the UK.

Now, she said, many are considering returning, with fuel prices meaning more people look at what’s on their doorstep – and with an increase in the number of people staying in the area.

“North Yorkshire is the golden destination because there is so much to offer, from rural getaways to city breaks and coastal holidays,” she said. “We are lucky to have many loyal visitors.

“I work with businesses to help them capitalize on North Yorkshire’s sense of place – the special qualities of places such as the North York Moors National Park that make it so distinctive and appealing.

“Our goal is also to ensure that local communities and businesses directly benefit from the visitor economy, attracting visitors who want to buy local products and enjoy activities without traveling too far.”

The county is home to many small, independent businesses, she added, and many are working hard to keep price hikes to a minimum.

Earl Les said it was key to retaining holidaymakers.

“We need to be aware that finances are a concern for so many people, and especially if we want holidaymakers to consider returning to North Yorkshire in the future,” he said.

“To ensure that a long-term, sustainable vision for tourism is achievable, not just for North Yorkshire but for the whole region, value for money and the best possible experience must be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. .”

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