Old York meets New York delegation-HD

Old York meets New York!

In 1664, New York was named in honour of the Duke of York and thus started a long lasting relationship between the ‘Big Apple’ and the historical English City of York which is set to be formally recognised later this year. 

A ledger stone commemorating the links between York and New York has started its journey across the Atlantic from York Minster to the Church of St Thomas in Manhattan and May, a group of Yorkshire dignitaries and business representatives will be joining forces to mark the occasion with a range of civic and trade related activities to promote links between the regions. 

The inscribed stone slab was designed by stonemason Richard Bossons who was responsible for creating York Minster’s statue of Queen Elizabeth II. It will be formally unveiled during a special evensong and civic reception at the Church of St Thomas on May 5th which will conclude a week of business networking events to promote York and North Yorkshire as a place to visit, live, work, study and invest in. 

The West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce is leading on this wider trade mission as they hope to develop new trade opportunities for its members. 

Chief Executive of the Chamber James Mason believes the range of high quality delegates will enable the traveling party to make a big impact. “Across the week we will be holding a number of events to showcase why North Yorkshire is a great place to visit, live, study and do business” he said. “We have both the University of York and York St John university with us, travel brands such as LNER and Leeds Bradford Airport as well as a number of iconic visitor attractions such as Castle Howard, hotels including Grantley Hall and the Grand in York as well as the award winning York Gin Group to give North American delegates a real taste of Yorkshire provenance!” 

Sarah Czarnecki, president of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Trade missions like this were once commonplace but they have become expensive. Each business is paying for their own flights and accommodation and we have designed an itinerary to ensure business connections are made. This is a forward thinking move by the Chamber to provide a valuable opportunity for those looking to explore new markets whilst also a fitting tribute to mark this historic landmark occasion.”

One of the businesses making the trip is City Cruises who operate sightseeing boat tours on both the River Ouse in York and Hudson River in New York. Chris Pegg, Head of Regional Commercial, Sales & Marketing at City Cruises believes his company’s presence on the waterways in both locations positions them uniquely to foster valuable connections and opportunities across the Atlantic.

“We are delighted to be hosting the delegation on a ‘Sights & Sips Cruise’ on the Hudson River and look forward to showcasing why City Cruises are known as a global leader in world-class experiences and creating unforgettable memories every day for guests and each other. As part of the trade mission, we are working with partners in York’s tourism industry to develop and forge strategic partnerships to increase and encourage visitors to our city, as well as meet and engage with group travel organisers to increase sales to our York and wider UK operations whilst fostering international collaboration and innovation in the tourism industry.

Castle Howard Visitor Attraction Director, Abbi Ollive said: “We’re thrilled to be taking part in this exciting trade visit, and deepening our relationships with the North American travel sector. North American visitors are very important to us as one of our largest international markets, we love welcoming groups to our House and Gardens to experience our beauty and history. With York’s status as a UNESCO Creative City, and the Howardian Hills, where Castle Howard is based, a dedicated National Landscape known for its beauty, this is a fantastic opportunity for us to promote Castle Howard, York, and the wider region to potential visitors.”

Sarah Baines, Business Development Manager at Grantley Hall added: “The North American market makes up over 70% of our international leisure business at Grantley Hall and we are seeing further growth in this market from our targeted international sales strategy. By working together with the other businesses on this trade visit, and alongside the Chamber of Commerce, we have a unique opportunity to promote North Yorkshire as a destination to visit and highlight our fantastic tourism offering.”

The itinerary will also include an event described as a mini ‘Great Yorkshire Show’ which will be held at the British Consulate General residence whereby guests will sample Yorkshire sourced food and drink and hear from the traveling party on why North Yorkshire is a must visit destination.

Emma Godivala, founder of York Gin believes the provenance of food and drink emanating from the city region is as good as anywhere in the world: We are a very proud York company making all our gins in York and we take inspiration from York’s history and traditions. We feel that we can faithfully represent York – as a place that creates brilliant products in the present while also being faithful to the past.  Also two of our gins won gold at the New York international Spirits Competition and they also crowned us English Distillery of the Year. So we have a soft spot for the Big Apple – New York drinkers clearly have great taste! We see a huge potential for York Gin in New York – and several other markets in the US. California, Texas, Florida, Illinois are other big opportunities. But for the name alone, old York Gin being introduced to New York seems like a no-brainer. Especially as our gins genuinely are some of the best in the world. The craft gin market in the USA provides a significant growth opportunity – and a historic brand like ours that has a reputation for both authenticity and luxurious quality has a real chance to succeed.

Chris Black is the managing director of jukebox manufacturer Sound Leisure who already distribute over £250,000 worth of products across the USA per year. He said: “This gives us an opportunity to travel with some likeminded businesses, many of which are looking for similar companies to connect with. Networking in an area with people that already have contacts usually proves beneficial and by travelling as a group we can make a much bigger impact PR wise. The connections that the Chamber has is also a vital in the decision to attend. We feel that New York is currently opening up with many opportunities for our machines following some high profile installations including the Chase Saphire Lounge at La Guardia airport.”

Vincent Hodder, CEO, at Leeds Bradford Airport said: “Leeds Bradford Airport is the international gateway to our region and is vital to our economy, community and particularly for trade and tourism.  This trade mission is designed to build a bridge between York and New York and we feel that it is part of our commitment to the Yorkshire business and tourism community that the airport does everything it can to foster and increase those links. 

“We have seen the positive impact of North American tourism to Scotland generating £1.4b in 2023, over 1/3 of total tourism income.  Yorkshire is a larger economy, larger population and has equally beautiful landscapes, coastlines, history, golf courses and of course the City of York itself.   Increasing north American tourism has the potential to bring hundreds of millions in additional direct spending in Yorkshire based businesses and attractions and even greater impacts in terms of jobs, opportunity and economic impact.”

Professor Karen Bryan, Vice Chancellor, York St John University said: “York St John University is one of the region’s oldest education institutions, with a long association with York Minster. As a global campus, we have always welcomed students from across North America to study here in Yorkshire and look forward to nurturing future opportunities for students coming to our region. As Chair of Yorkshire Universities, I am delighted to be representing our fantastic higher education sector on this visit.”

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