York view from above

York’s new Tourism Strategy to lead the way for an even better quality of life in the city of York


A new eight-year tourism strategy for York has been officially adopted by the City of York Council on behalf of the city.

The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a re-evaluation of global tourism, with York’s stakeholders exploring new approaches to create value beyond visitor volume. In response, the York Tourism Advisory Board was relaunched in late 2020, bringing together over 60 stakeholders from across York and the wider region, and works in collaboration with Make It York, the City of York Council and York BID.  

The Tourism Advisory Board has been working on the development of a new Tourism Strategy for the city. The tourism strategy sets out a bold new vision for tourism in York. From promoting regenerative practices, to enhancing the wellbeing of York’s communities through tourism, the York Tourism Strategy is a comprehensive framework that aligns with the city’s values and aspirations. By engaging with the people who call York home, local businesses, and cultural institutions, the aim is to ensure that tourism becomes a force for positive change, contributing to the city’s prosperity and wellbeing. 

This is a new era where tourism is not an isolated goal, but an integrated means to sustain an even better quality of life in the city. It commits to preserving York’s historical legacy while embracing future opportunities. The strategy serves as a visionary roadmap to elevate the tourism experience for both residents and visitors, fostering community and pride, that is founded on principles of sustainability, inclusivity, and authenticity. 

York’s Tourism Strategy is focused on five Key Priorities with specific ambitions for the city. These include: 

  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 and wider region 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, apprenticeships, training and career development, and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.   

Dr Brendan Paddison, Chair of York Tourism Advisory Board and Associate Professor at York St John University, said:

“York’s new tourism strategy will transform York’s approach to tourism, ensuring the city becomes a world-leader in regenerative tourism, that it grows and diversifies its offer responsibly, and that the city maximises tourism’s contribution to the economy, employment and the quality of life in York and beyond. The strategy was co-produced by the city, with extensive consultation with a breadth of stakeholders from across York and the wider region.”

York welcomes 8.9 million visitors annually, contributing £1.7 billion to the local economy and supporting 17,000 jobs. The new strategy emphasizes sustainability and community engagement, setting out a vision where heritage, culture, and public space are important and, the car is less important.  

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director of Make It York, said:

“We are thrilled to share our vision for the city and to continue our commitment in promoting York and its surroundings as a wonderful place to live, work and visit. This strategy is essential, as it drives our work in York’s economic growth while enriching the cultural and social fabric of our community for both residents and visitors.”

This is a tourism strategy for the city of York and its success hinges on the spirit of collaboration and insights from businesses, local leaders, residents, and cultural groups, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive approach. 

The York Tourism Advisory Board continues to meet monthly. If you would like to know more about the Advisory Board, please contact Dr Brendan Paddison (b.paddison@yorksj.ac.uk). 


Press Release date: 20 June 2024 

Notes to Editors:

Image Credit: Make It York. More images: register for the Visit York Media Library.

York Tourism Strategy document below:

Contact: comms@makeityork.com   

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities. These are: City positioning and profile-raising; Ensuring an exciting city centre; Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy.   

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