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You are here: Home » Career Sector Information » Leisure, Sport & Tourism » Tourism and Travel

Leisure, Sport & Tourism

Leisure, Sport & Tourism

Tourism and Travel

In the region North Yorkshire has the strongest tradition of tourism with the historic towns of York and Harrogate being top tourist destinations for visitors and the North York Moors being an additional draw. York alone attracts 4 million visitors a year with an annual spend of almost £300 million and supporting about 9,500 jobs.  There are over 3,000 businesses active in this sector in North Yorkshire, employing over 30,000 people. The seaside resorts in both North and East Yorkshire are also popular with tourists with Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington all drawing the weekend crowds from both within the region and further a field.

West Yorkshire is home to the world famous attraction of Haworth and other towns made famous by British TV such as Holmfirth and the beautiful Pennine hill country.  In and around Bradford, tourism is worth almost £409m to the local economy and employs over 10,000 people.

In South Yorkshire has less tourism than the rest of the region but the sector still accounts for about 5,214 of the areas businesses and 10% of the South Yorkshire workforce.  The sector contributes £193 million to South Yorkshire's economy each year.

Areas within the Tourism sector include travel agency and tour operations which themselves range from mass-transit package and luxury products to adventure, niche and sustainable tourism. Travel agency professionals are responsible for overall holiday and travel retail services as well as line management of agency staff. There is also an increasing business tourism sub-sector, which includes conference and event organising.

Operators are responsible for the organising and operation of tours and travel programmes, liaising with various providers from hotels and other sources of accommodation to airlines and cruise companies. Increasing use of ICT, alongside more traditional customer facing services, makes this a competitive sector. Marketing is a key activity comprising brochure production, web resources and utilising current research.

Tourism officers more often work in the public sector (but can also be found in the private sector) and are involved in more strategic planning and marketing activity on behalf of a region or destination. Employers include tourist boards and local authorities and often tourism development is in the context of economic or regeneration benefits to the region.

Travel consultancies provide specific commercial, strategic and developmental expertise to facilities, attractions and areas of interest. This may relate more to day trips which residents as well as visitors can enjoy.

Tourism related graduate training schemes are not common and employers except graduates from any degree, though studying a relevant degree can be an advantage. Graduates looking to work in the area will need to posses a broad range of skills such as IT, written and verbal communication and organisational skills and relevant experience in a related role is an advantage.

Job vacancies in Leisure, Sport & Tourism

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Useful links:

Yorkshire Tourist Board

The Yorkshire Tourist Board (YTB) was established in 1971 as a partnership of public bodies and private sector operators interested in developing sustainable tourism and the benefits it brings to the region.  You can locate specific tourist offices within the region on the website. 

Yorkshire Tourist Board Business Advice

This is the official business-to-business website for the tourism industry in Yorkshire, with information about businesses within the tourism sector, on how to start your own business within this sector and the grants available, and containing research and statistics about tourism in this region.


Formed by the merger of the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council VisitBritain's remit is a strategic overview of marketing tourism in the UK.

Tourism Management Institution

The Tourism Management Institution (TMI) is the professional institute for tourism destination management in the UK including: marketing, planning and tourism development.

Institute of Travel & Tourism (ITT)

ITT is the professional membership body for individuals employed in the travel and tourism industry which aims to maintain and develop professional standards in the travel industry and related marketing, publishing and legal sectors.

Association of British Travel Agents

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is the main trade association for tour operators and travel agents in the UK.

Association of Independent Tour Operators

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) represents Britain's key tour operators specialising in particular destinations or types of activity.

British Hospitality Association

A national trade association for the hotel, catering and restaurant industry. Provides information on the hospitality industry.

Institute of Hospitality

Professional body for managers and potential managers in the hospitality industry (formerly HCIMA - Hotel and Catering International Management Association.  Lists hospitality management events and developments. Also includes links to other sites such as hotels, government etc.