Gary Verity, Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire

I think it’s fitting that our Y 11 event is to be held on the stage at the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House. We’ve had 12 months of ups and downs that have felt, at times, like we have been part of a drama production, but like all good stories we had a happy ending with another great year for tourism in the county so a theatre provides the perfect stage to tell that story.

In preparation for presenting to a record audience in a packed auditorium of the great and the good of the county I have, I admit, been taking lessons. Not the kind of lessons you might associate with me but lessons nonetheless that I envisage will help me get our messages across when the day, Monday 11 April, comes around. I’ve been taking singing lessons. According to my teacher I have a good vocal range and potential to improve, not that I think I will be worrying the cast of Opera North’s Carmen anytime soon, but I am enjoying the experience and the challenge. I’m sure as I stand on stage to talk about Welcome to Yorkshire and the county’s tourism industry over the past year, I will feel like singing, such has been our success, but I promise to spare you.

Instead I will be concentrating on the life lesson that my singing experience has taught me; that success breeds confidence and that is true of the year we have had in tourism. Our success is breeding confidence countywide. By the end of Y 11 I hope we will all be singing from the same hymn sheet, even if I assume the role of choir leader, rather than chorister!