Destination Harrogate Supports Nidderdale Greenway Extension
Destination Harrogate supports the proposed extension of the Nidderdale Greenway.
The organisation promotes Harrogate District as a destination for visitors, and is linked to Visit Harrogate and Harrogate Borough Council. It has published a Destination Management Plan for 2022-25.
Tourism and the Visitor Economy
The Plan points out that the visitor economy represents 8,000 jobs and contributes £600 million to Harrogate’s economy – 14.3% of the total. This is second only to real estate, which the Plan says contributes £827 million. (It would be interesting to know if the £827 million includes the sale price of all houses that changed hands).
The £600 million figure is from 2019; in 2020, the pandemic had a negative impact and knocked the total down to £280 million as visitor numbers dropped by 57%.
Overnight visitors make up 19% of the total but represent 63% of economic impact. The average length of stay is 3.3 days, and July to September is peak season.
Pipeline projects which are expected to improve the attractiveness of Harrogate District include:
- investment in Harrogate Convention Centre
- Harrogate Station Gateway
- the Skell Valley Project to revitalise 12 miles of the river Skell
- Knaresborough Leisure and Wellness Centre (opening in 2023)
Destination Harrogate’s first priority is to position Harrogate as a Health & Wellbeing destination; the second is to raise its profile for Events.
The third priority is to develop a responsible tourism strategy to minimise the negative environmental and social impacts of tourism. This is where the Nidderdale Greenway comes in: the Action Plan for priority three includes extending the Nidderdale Greenway to enable traffic-free access to all of Nidderdale.
When the next Plan is published, let’s hope an extended Nidderdale Greenway is a reality – or if not, that it is given prominence in the Plan, not hidden away in a single row of a table near the end of the document.