Column - East Riding of Yorkshire Council leader Stephen Parnaby OBE

Tour de Yorkshire competitors in Market Weighton earlier this year.
Tour de Yorkshire competitors in Market Weighton earlier this year.

Happy New Year to Pocklington Post readers and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

The festive period is always a good time to reflect on the year just passed and the year ahead.

When I looked back over the previous 12 months, it was with a feeling of real pride about the achievements of East Riding of Yorkshire Council in the face of austerity and funding cuts from central government.

Despite the huge financial pressures on local government, we have not only continued to provide quality services for residents and businesses but also continued investing in the East Riding’s infrastructure and facilities.

That investment includes spending money on projects to support the East Riding’s booming tourism industry.

It is estimated that the tourism industry generates about £500million in the East Riding which is an amazing statistic.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council works incredibly hard to promote tourism and the number of visitors coming to our beautiful county – and how much they spend – benefits a huge amount of people, from hoteliers and cafe owners to shopkeepers and service providers.

Tourism is the lifeblood of thousands of people in East Yorkshire – it supports 11,000 jobs and 1,800 businesses – but everyone in some way also reaps the benefits of a thriving tourism industry and the healthier our visitor statistics are then the better off the whole economy of the East Riding is.

From the beautiful countryside of the coast and Wolds to picturesque villages, characteristic market towns and superb attractions, the East Riding has so much to offer not only visitors but also the people who live and work here. I don’t think there is a better place to live, never mind visit.

And in 2017, millions of people around the world will again see the East Riding in all its glory thanks to East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s support of the Tour de Yorkshire. Next year the tour will come to Pocklington for the first time and I’m sure it will be a very exciting occasion for the town.

Some of the world’s top cyclists will be racing through the streets on Friday 28 April, with Pocklington hosting the Tour’s first intermediate sprint before the riders head on to Garrowby Hill for the first categorised climb.

It will take in some of our pretty villages, including North Dalton, Warter, Meltonby and Bishop Wilton, and I’m sure tens of thousands of people will line the route and cheer the racers on with great gusto.

Market Weighton has already experienced the razzmatazz of being on the Tour route and I’m delighted that Pocklington gets its turn.

The race will attract national and international publicity, which is excellent exposure for Pocklington and the East Riding as a first-class visitor destination.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council agreed a three-year commercial partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire to support this brilliant event and it’s worth every penny in terms of the positive impact on tourism.

It was estimated that last year’s race generated £60million for Yorkshire’s economy, bringing not only huge crowds of spectators but also broadcasting stunning views of the county to a global TV audience in nearly 200 countries.

That kind of publicity is priceless and should help to make 2017 – and the years to follow – a tourism success for Pocklington and the East Riding.