Image: Welcome to Yorkshire
The Yorkshire Party has called for greater openness and accountability in the county’s tourism agency, following the departure of Sir Gary Verity as chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.
Tim Norman: It cannot be ‘business as usual’ at Welcome to Yorkshire
And Tim Norman, Party spokesperson on Tourism has urged a change of tack on how tourism is promoted in Yorkshire.
“Is cycle tourism the be all and end all? The Yorkshire Party believes that Yorkshire has so much more to offer. But it is not just cycling.
“Yes the Tour de Yorkshire and the Grand Depart have publicised the beauty of Yorkshire, its hills, its dales and coast but only to a small market place of cycle tourists.
“Gary Verity has been a magnificent figure head for Tourism in Yorkshire, but there now needs to be a root-and-branch assessment of all activities domestic and foreign.”
“Having just visited Majorca I can see that they have a massive cycle tourism business and the island has invested heavily in the infrastructure of top-class, blemish-free roads and cycle ways; bringing thousands of cyclists in and out of the main holiday season to see the sights.”
“If cycle tourism is to really take off in Yorkshire then there is a need for more and targeted investment in quality safe roads and rail county-wide.”
“But there is a need for more transparency. Ron McMillan, Chair of Welcome to Yorkshire has said that it is very much business as usual for Welcome to Yorkshire.
“The Yorkshire Party believes that this cannot be the case and that some change is needed in procedures and openness. Welcome to Yorkshire is a membership and publically funded organisation and as such it must increase its openness and accountability.”
Sir Gary Verity
Picture: Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons
In a statement on Sir Gary’s decision, Welcome to Yorkshire said he had resigned on health grounds.
“Although not directly linked to Sir Gary’s resignation, concerns have been raised in relation to his behaviour towards staff and his expenses. As a responsible organisation Welcome to Yorkshire takes all allegations very seriously.
“The Board has investigated these and concluded that Sir Gary made errors of judgement regarding his expenses at a very difficult time for him and his family. Sir Gary has agreed to voluntarily reimburse Welcome to Yorkshire for monies owed.”
The Yorkshire Post is among media who have reported growing pressure on Ron McMillan to resign too.