[inspic=3,left,fullscreen,thumb]YORK has been named European Tourism City of the Year in the first European Cities Tourism Awards held in Athens.
York beat off competition from other shortlisted cities, Gothenburg and Valencia to take the top prize.
Thomas Gleisner, from sponsor SAS, said “York was the clear overall winner. The city has unique characteristics, such as its 2,000 years of history, a variety of worldclass attractions, distinctive shopping and festivals and events – all of which make it a destination well worth visiting and on a year round basis, too.
Yet what impressed the judges most is that this is a powerful example of a highly successful public-private sector partnership.
The public sector has invested wisely in innovative and imaginative infrastructure projects. And this is turn has helped stimulate substantial private sector investment – because developers are confident they will see a good return”
Over the past ten years, York has achieved a 52 per cent growth in visitor spending, a 26 per cent increase in tourist overnight volume, a 21.5 per cent rise in average length of stay and 12 per cent more employment.
Gothenburg was chosen as European City Tourism Organisation of the Year with Reykjavik gaining a special commendation.
The panel of judges, chaired by Paul Dubrule, co-founder of the Accor Group and chairman of Maison de la France, stressed how impressed they were with all the shortlisted candidates.
Dubrule added “But we had no hesitation in deciding on the eventual winners.”
The European Cities Tourism Awards, launched 12 months ago at trade show City Breaks 2006 in Helsinki, are to be presented bi-annually. The next awards ceremony will take place in June 2009.