Welcome to Yorkshire enters administration
Last updated Mar 1, 2022
Welcome to Yorkshire

Troubled tourism organisation Welcome to Yorkshire has been placed into administration.

In a statement this afternoon, Sir Peter Box CBE, chair of the organisation, said it was with “deep regret” that the board had taken the decision.

He said the impact of covid and the “task of securing sufficient funding” had made the situation at the tourism body “increasingly challenging”.

Sir Peter Box said in his statement:

“The past three years have been incredibly difficult for Board members and staff as we have endeavoured to deal with well-publicised legacy issues.

“These matters, coupled with the impact of covid and the task of securing sufficient funding from the public and private sectors to place WtY on a sound financial footing, have made the situation increasingly challenging.

“The de Bois review of Destination Management Organisations could have created the opportunity for WtY to be given the structure and long-term funding required to move on, grow and develop into the organisation we believe it should be on behalf of Yorkshire and its people.

“Sadly, the decision of the Yorkshire leaders not to commit to a multi-year funding package, whilst understandable, removed that pathway and means that WtY cannot continue in its present form.

“Most importantly, I want to pay tribute to the team of talented and dedicated professional staff who have continued to do remarkable work in the toughest of circumstances to promote Yorkshire’s many attractions to the world.  I offer my heartfelt thanks and wish them well in their future careers.

“I must also place on record my gratitude to those board members who have remained with WtY, working selflessly in a collective effort to save the organisation from closure.

“It is my sincere hope that the public sector will recognise the value of a new regional Destination Management Organisation to build on the many achievements of WtY.

“This can offer our tourism industry the chance to move forward with a focused approach, deliver on regional priorities, and secure the best outcomes for everyone who visits, lives, works and studies in Yorkshire.”

Rob Adamson, Michael Kienlen and Daryl Warwick of Armstrong Watson LLP have been appointed as joint administrators of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Controversy and cashflow problems

The decision follows a troubled few years for Welcome to Yorkshire.

In September, James Mason resigned as the organisation’s chief executive and the body had to approach local councils to help bail it out financially during the covid pandemic in 2020.

Both Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council gave Welcome to Yorkshire £31,000 and £290,000 respectively to plug its £1.4 million funding gap.

The body also had to take out a £500,000 loan in September 2019 from North Yorkshire County Council to keep it afloat.

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It also faced allegations from Sir Thomas Ingilby, owner of Ripley Castle and Gardens, that the body had become “completely unaccountable”. Its former chief executive defended the allegations in an interview with the Stray Ferret.

The tourism body’s worries stem back as far as March 2019 when it was hit by controversy after former boss, Sir Gary Verity, resigned on health grounds. He later faced allegations of bullying and inappropriately claiming expenses, which he denied.

Two inquiries carried out after Sir Gary’s resignation cost the tourism body £482,500.

Paul Scriven, a former leader of Sheffield City Council and a Liberal Democrat peer, told the House of Lords Welcome to Yorkshire had a “culture of toxicity” and misused public funds.