James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, tells Festival Of Tourism that East Yorkshire has great potential to grow
BUSINESS people in the tourism industry have begun their project to become great ambassadors for the region.
The impact of tourism was highlighted as the ten-day business event – the Festival Of Tourism – kicked off yesterday.
As guest speaker at the launch event, chief executive of VisitEngland James Berresford helped businesses get to grips with the importance of this sector and how they can play a part in helping the region's economy through tourism.
Mr Berresford said the key message is this is a serious industry and one that has a potential to grow.
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He said: "If people think Hull and East Yorkshire is a good place to visit, they are more likely to think it is a good place to invest in.
"This part of the world has great potential to grow.
"I am very positive about this tourism event – it is groundbreaking."
The Festival Of Tourism aims to celebrate and showcase the area's unique tourism attractions and help those that already work in the industry to promote it better.
Workers have been given 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.
This is set to help them learn more about what the region has to offer.
Mr Berresford said he believes there is already plenty of ambition in East Yorkshire to help the tourism industry to grow.
He said: "It is a competitive world but if you have the ambition and drive, you can make tourism work."
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.
According to Mr Berresford, nationally, the tourism industry is worth £97bn.
He said: "Our aim at VisitEngland is to grow this figure by five per cent each year, so that would be an extra £225m by 2020. That's an aspiration locally, too."