Phil MeekinView Profile
According to a recent paper, Tourism: jobs and growth by Deloitte, in 2013 the invisible earnings from tourism in the UK totalled £24bn.
The success of the region’s top SMEs is a clear reflection of the UK’s recovery.
Despite concerns about the strong pound hitting exports and the anticipated slowdown in growth next year, our economy is in a far healthier state than it has been for a number of years and the future looks promising.
But London and the South East came out of recession long before the rest of the country. The North – South divide is alive and kicking.
Traditionally there has always been rivalry between northern cities, but suddenly there is an air of co-operation and partnership. Will this be the year when the North started to unify? Talk of the Northern Powerhouse is everywhere. It is perhaps spawned by the Scottish independence referendum, talk about devolution and the debate over HS2 and HS3.
One market where the North has a great deal to offer is tourism. The UK tourist market has grown year on year and seems less sensitive to currency fluctuations. According to a recent paper, Tourism: jobs and growth by Deloitte, in 2013 the invisible earnings from tourism in the UK totalled £24bn. Of that 47% was spent in London and only 12% across the rest of England.
Most foreign tourists who venture beyond London will visit York, driving right through our region. Sheffield has a remarkable industrial heritage and worldwide reputation but attracts relatively few foreign tourists.
Hull – an unlikely tourist spot like Sheffield – has announced its intention to build a £17m cruise ship terminal in 2017. With numerous museums and rich maritime history, it is eager to attract visitors. But with South and West Yorkshire only a short distance away, they could also benefit.
There is one league table where the North always beats London and that regrettably is in the areas of bankruptcy and insolvency numbers.
London will always be a big attraction for tourists but it would be good to see the Northern cities in a spirit of collaboration, take a bigger slice of the cake.