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Culture Secretary's Olympic tour comes to Yorkshire

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Businesses Urged to Make the Most of 2012.

Hunt updates on the new Youth Sport Strategy and £10 million funding from Sainsbury’s for the School Games

Businesses and sport in the Yorkshire and Humber region were top of the agenda today as the Culture Secretary held the latest in a series of countrywide `2012 summits’ at York Racecourse and Headingley Carnegie Stadium, home of Rugby League side the Leeds Rhinos.

Addressing more than 200 hoteliers, businesses and tourism bodies from across the region at York Racecourse, Mr Hunt urged businesses to make the very most of the opportunity of the country hosting the Olympics and Paralympics. He also revealed that the region would feature in major international and national marketing campaigns to promote UK tourism in 2012 and encouraged local tourism firms to sign up to a new 20.12 per cent discount scheme. 

The event, which was hosted by Gary Verity (Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire and Chair of Yorkshire Gold), showcased the business, tourism, cultural and sporting opportunities that the Games bring. Other speakers included Sir Charles Allen CBE (Chair of London 2012 Nations & Regions Group) and Bill Morris (Director of Ceremonies, Education & Live Sites at London 2012).

Mr Hunt said: “I’ve had a fantastic day in York and Leeds. There’s so much going on in Yorkshire and Humber - it’s a region with a rich culture, strong sporting traditions and of course, absolutely stunning countryside. With the Olympic Torch Relay spending six days in the region, the 2012 Games offer huge opportunities to businesses here and I would urge everyone to get on board and make the most of them.”

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford, said:

“I’m delighted to be here in York at such an iconic stadium with the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt.  This exciting tourism roadshow launches England’s most high profile campaign to boost domestic tourism and is designed to highlight the fantastic experiences Britons can enjoy literally on their doorsteps. 

“2012 offers the tourism industry a number of unprecedented opportunities.  Not only will England be showcased to billions of people all over the world, but we have the opportunity to grow domestic tourism by inspiring Britons to rediscover England and take a holiday at home next year. Spear-heading the promotion will be a high profile TV campaign and specially devised discounted offers. Our job as the national tourist board is to work with the industry to harness the pride we know is felt by local residents and to inspire them to act as ambassadors for their destinations for next year and beyond.”

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire and Chair of Yorkshire Gold said: “We know that during London 2012 we have a great opportunity to bring visitors from across the world to sample Yorkshire and we are delighted to welcome Jeremy Hunt to the region to talk about the benefits of the Olympic Games and their legacy.

“Starting with the Torch Relay in June, Yorkshire is looking forward to celebrating London 2012 this summer and we will be working hard to attract visitors from all over the world to enjoy that with us.”

Mr Hunt was joined for a School Games summit at Headingley Carnegie Stadium by inline skating champion Jenna Downing, he urged local schools to sign up for the new Sainsbury’s School Games competition which will have its first final in the Olympic Park in May and is helping to transform sport in schools.

The competition received a huge boost last week with Sainsbury’s pledging a £10 million funding package over the next four years, the Department of Health investing a further £14 million, and adidas signing up as official kit supplier.

The School Games competition is part of the Government’s new youth sport strategy, unveiled last week.  Together, they will get more young people playing sport and deliver a real sporting legacy from the 2012 Games.

While at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Mr Hunt also met young ambassadors from Leeds School Sports Partnership training with Leeds Rhino players Ben Jones-Bishop and Carl Ablett and Leeds Carnegie players Lachlan Mackay and Phil Swainston.

With 191 days to go until the opening ceremony of the inaugural Sainsbury’s School Games final in the Olympic Park, the Culture Secretary urged local head teachers, students and school games organisers to sign up to the competition before the deadline of the end of January.  He used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of making the most of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games to help transform school sport and get more young people playing sport. 

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Notes to editors

  1. For further information about Visit England contact Sarah Long on 0207 578 1452 /

  2. More information about London 2012.

  3. The GREAT initiative is an international campaign to maximise the tourism and business opportunities of the UK hosting the 2012 Games.

  4. Mr Hunt is making a series of visits around the country to promote the opportunity of 2012. So far he has visited:

• Cumbria (9 November)
• East Midlands (16 November)
• South West (18 November)
• West Midlands (23 November)
• South East (2 December)
• North west (12 January)
• Yorkshire and Humber (18 January)

Future dates are (provisionally):

• East of England (20 January)
• North East (26 January)
• London (2 February)
• Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland TBC

  1. Welcome to Yorkshire is the official destination management organisation for Yorkshire, working to grow the county’s visitor economy. Yorkshire Gold is part of Welcome to Yorkshire and has been established to ensure the people, communities and businesses of Yorkshire and Humber benefit commercially, culturally and in every other possible way from London 2012. Welcome to Yorkshire is funded by Yorkshire Forward, the Regional Development Agency charged with improving the Yorkshire and Humber economy, and Welcome to Yorkshire members.

Key facts include:

• Tourism in Yorkshire is worth £7 billion annually
• The county’s industry employs almost a quarter of a million people
• There are 216 million visits to Yorkshire each year

  1. Further information about tourism in Yorkshire contact Amy Bouchier 0113 322 3571 /

  2. The Sainsbury’s School Games is a new school sport competition, using the inspiration of London’s Olympics and Paralympics to help transform competitive sport in schools and get more young people playing sport.  Open to all schools, there are three levels of competition (class versus class, school versus school and then county or city wide sports festivals) leading up to the showcase final on the Olympic Park. The School Games will continue after 2012 and the ambition is for the finals to be held in the Olympic Park at regular intervals. Schools have until the end of January to sign up.  Further information about the school games can be found at

  3. Sainsbury’s pledged a £10 million package to support the new School Games over the next four years; this was announced by DCMS on 10 January 2012.

  4. A new £1 billion new youth sport strategy to deliver on 2012 Games promise to inspire a generation to get involved in sport was announced by DCMS on 10 January 2012.

  5. Yorkshire and the Humber ‘2012’ factsheet (PDF 40kb)

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