Nik believes there are huge new opportunities to promote Otley as a visitor destination, which can help hospitality, cultural and creative businesses in town to thrive, as well as creating jobs for young people and increasing business for Otley’s excellent range of independent retailers. 

“The Tour de Yorkshire stage starting from Otley on Saturday 30th April offers local people a vital opportunity to raise the town’s profile as a visitor destination, says Nik Rutherford, our candidate in the city council elections on May 5th.

“Just like the Tour de France in 2014, this kind of national exposure, along with the internet, proximity to the airport, the growth of Leeds City Region and the Northern Powerhouse can potentially transform tourism in Otley.”

“Just as important, tourism can help provide valuable growth and jobs in local retail, hospitality, tourism, arts and cultural enterprises that could help to prevent the steady flow of young people of working age leaving our town. Current work on the Neighbourhood Plan has shown that Otley’s younger working age population is shrinking, and we need to address that.”

“To build on future tourism opportunities, we need to make sure that all the excellent local tourism work by Otley Town Partnership, the Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Trade and the Town Council and individual local businesses is co-ordinated and working in the same direction.”

Nik would like to see Otley’s work on tourism linked into wider work by Leeds City Council and other key tourism agencies in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

“We need to be talking to the key players in our region so that Otley can benefit from the funding streams available for tourism work such as the new £40 million Discover England fund, and the £20 million Northern Tourism Growth Fund. If elected in May, I want to try and get the our town organisations together with the bigger tourism bodies so we can plug into available funding streams and take advantage of the wider promotion and marketing opportunities that these networks offer. I believe Otley can achieve much more through tourism if we raise our eyes above the horizon and start to think big.”

Here’s a view from Dudley Parker, a professional Yorkshire Blue Badge Tour Guide who’s worked in the European tourism industry for many years:

“Otley is a very attractive tourist destination with a vibrant cultural life, regular markets, a good range of quality independent shops, and excellent inns, pubs and restaurants.

To make the most of this offer, we need to support and develop the range of infrastructure needed for tourism, such as:

  • maintaining the good quality public toilets at Orchardgate
  • having accessible and up to date Tourist Information at the Library
  • offering Town Council services at The Core – visible and accessible for all visitors
  • improving permanent coach parking.

Secondly, we need to develop the town’s excellent calendar of festivals and events which could attract even greater numbers of visitors with robust and imaginative marketing.”

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