Busman's holiday for Hull and East Yorkshire's tourism staff
THEY are the friendly faces and helpful hands who dedicate their time to ensuring tourists are given the warmest welcome possible.
Now, workers from Hull and East Yorkshire's tourism industry will be getting their passports stamped and enjoying firsthand all the delights the region has to offer.
The initiative forms part of a ten-day Festival of Business, which aims to celebrate and showcase the area's unique tourism attractions.
Organised by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (Vhey), the festival kicks off on Monday, March 4, with a launch event featuring James Beresford, chief executive of VisitEngland.
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Vhey tourism manager Andy Gray said: "It's an opportunity for those working within the industry, from shop floor to the boardroom, to familiarise themselves with what our region offers visitors and how, by working together, we can increase visitors to our own businesses."
Estimates show tourism already benefits the local economy to the tune of £615m each year and 15,000 jobs in East Yorkshire depend on it.
Vhey is now producing Festival of Tourism Passports, which enable those employed in the tourism industry to take advantage of a host of special events, including guided walks and behind-the-scenes tours as well as free entry to any participating attractions.
Passport holders and festival delegates will be able to visit an array of different attractions, including the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School at Southburn, near Driffield, two East Yorkshire stately homes, the Madhyamaka Buddhist mediation centre near Pocklington and Dinostar, Hull's dinosaur experience.
There will also be visits to a golf club, luxury holiday cottages near Bridlington, guided walks in Hull, Beverley and Bridlington and a chance to experience the wonders of the Wolds captured by David Hockney.
Anthony Yates, Vhey's tourism marketing manager said: "There is no doubt about it – tourism is big business. It's also highly competitive with rival areas of the country all vying for a larger share of the market.
"This is something we would like to build and repeat every year to really bang the drum for East Yorkshire."
The festival will be launched at the Hallmark Hotel in North Ferriby on March 4, from 4pm to 6pm.
The ten-day event will then culminate in the annual Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards on March 14 at the Hull Mercure Grange Park Hotel in Willerby.