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York's tourist industry

This report has been provided by the Economic Development Unit of the City of York Council



"First Stop York"

First Stop York is a comprehensive multi-agency strategy designed to develop tourism in York through public-private sector partnership. The partnership is made up of the following organisations:

  • City of York Council
  • York Tourism Bureau
  • Yorkshire Tourist Board
  • York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
  • North Yorkshire TEC
  • GMB
  • York and District Hospitality Association
  • Greater York Hotel and Guest House Association
  • York Tourism 2000
  • Historic Attractions Group

The main aim of the partnership is to maximise the economic and employment advantages of tourism in York to the benefit of businesses, employees, residents and visitors. Action began in 1995, and major progress has been made regarding:

  • Improved visitor numbers
  • Longer visitor stays
  • Higher spending per capita
  • Increased turnover levels
  • More employment opportunities for local residents

.After this progress, activities have been reviewed and four programme areas have been identified as the Strategic Framework for First Stop York for the next three years:

  • Understanding the customer
  • The quality of what York offers
  • Customer-focused Marketing
  • Strengthening the Partnership

First Stop York - Activities


  • Over 5,000 interviews, October 1995 - the present, with interviews at 12 points around the city centre
  • Purpose:
Establish the characteristics and attitudes of visitors coming to YorkProvide information which can be used by FSY and local companies to help with their marketing of York
  • Analyse the opinions of potential visitors to York - thereby using market intelligence to better inform marketing activities.
  • Calendar of Events throughout the year has been developed. Includes:
    • Jorvik VikingFestival
    • St Nicholas Fayre
    • Festival of Food and Drink
  • City Centre evening economy initiatives are encouraged
  • IT improvements to booking systems
  • Visitor Management Action Plan
    • Visitor Information Patrols
    • Brown signs (local/regional)
    • ShopmobilityTrails
  • York Tourism Training initiative
    • Training courses and business services


  • UK - London/South East (Pre-family adults), Scotland (seniors 55+)
  • Overseas - USA (in association with the Heritage Cities Consortium), Norway, Ireland - with other marketing undertaken by the Yorkshire Tourist Board, England's North Country and the BTA.
  • PR campaign to supplement marketing activity
  • First Stop York by Train - a rail incentive package supported by the rail companies that service York, which offers discounts to accommodation and attraction in York during the off-peak season. 56% increase in visits, 1997-98, over the same period in previous years.
  • First Stop York web site:
  • Business and Conference market
  • Education (inc. English as a Foreign Language)
  • Project Groups are implementing the overall First Stop York strategy - enabling greater participation by businesses
  • Emphasis on creating a financially sustainable strategy - taking advantage of funding from various sources
  • Encouraging local residents to support First Stop York activities:
    • Residents First Weekend - free entry to most of York's attractions
    • Calendar of Events enjoyed by residents as much as visitors
    • Residents support is monitored through Council research groups



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