Meet the man with a new take on Welcome to Yorkshire – inspired by Las Vegas


The similarities between Yorkshire and Las Vegas might not be immediately obvious, but the parallels between the two in terms of their tourism potential have helped open a new chapter for the Welcome to Yorkshire brand.

The region’s official tourism agency was placed into administration in early March after council leaders ended public funding after years of reputational and financial problems. While the existing business is being dissolved, e-commerce expert Robin Scott’s company Silicon Dales ended up buying its major assets, including its website, brand name, his social media accounts and the rights to the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race for £. 370,000 excluding VAT.

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Scott is now in the process of setting up a New York-based company called (International) Ltd to control the assets and launch a very different future for Welcome to Yorkshire than its previous iteration, which relied heavily on funding from local councils. .

Robin Scott has purchased key assets owned by Welcome to Yorkshire, including the Tour de Yorkshire cycling race. Photo: James Hardisty

Taking over a regional travel agency might not seem like a natural fit for an e-commerce development company at first glance, but Scott says Silicon Dales has experience building destination websites — specifically in Las Vegas. Vegas. His company was involved with the hotel and restaurant listings website featuring attractions in Las Vegas.

Tim Nye, a Barbados-based British businessman who runs the website with his daughter Jenna, has a 49% stake in new venture (International) Ltd.

Scott plans to relaunch the website by the end of this summer and says it fits naturally into Silicon Dales’ existing work.

“For about a year to 18 months, we have been actively buying and working on destination websites.

Robin Scott has purchased key assets owned by Welcome to Yorkshire, including the Tour de Yorkshire cycling race. Photo: James Hardisty

“We’ve been working on a few venues in Las Vegas where they’re preparing for the Superbowl that’s going to be there next year.

“We’ve worked with hotels in Las Vegas, so and the accommodation side are a perfect fit.

“We create reservation systems in an efficient way and we work with all the key players in this market for hotel reservations, for lodges, etc. Welcome to Yorkshire absolutely stands out from the offline stuff – the awards ceremonies, the cycling events. But it can be arranged.

“We will seek to work with local authorities but there will be a big difference in terms of flavor. We are not going to ask local authorities for money. We will try to work with businesses to actively market the area and the region and their businesses instead of asking the government for money.

He says the Welcome to Yorkshire brand will certainly continue in the short term, but a long-term decision on its future has yet to be made. However, Scott says he doesn’t think it’s a “toxic brand” despite problems in recent years sparked by a spending scandal. He says the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2014, staffed by WtY managing director Gary Verity, “was probably the best live sporting event that has ever taken place in Yorkshire”.

“It’s easy to be hyper-critical, but you have to remember the good stuff that’s there. That’s what we’re trying to preserve and a lot of that has to do with branding as well.”

Scott intends to revive the Tour de Yorkshire, which was set up as a successor to the Grand Départ but has not been staged since 2019 due to a combination of the pandemic and a lack of agreed funding.

He says that while there are “some logistical challenges” he is encouraged by conversations he has had with cycling chiefs which suggest the event could return as early as next year. “As we seek to do with, we can bring it back the same way but better. We want it to be a major international cycling event.

For, planned improvements include the ability for tourism businesses to edit their own entries on the site, which is currently not possible. Scott says that unlike the financial difficulties of the former Welcome to Yorkshire, which entered administration with more than £2million, the new business is starting debt-free. But when it comes to how a return on investment will be generated, it is rather more cautious.

“It’s a bit like asking Coca-Cola for its recipes – I’m not going to give you all the ingredients,” he says.

“But I can give you a very short answer. Our slogan was ‘We help you sell more online’ and that’s what we’re going to do. All the big companies in Yorkshire, we’re going to represent them in the United States and sell them to the middle class in the United States, we’re going to bring people here. We will also look to organize more major technology conferences in Leeds, York, Doncaster, Sheffield etc. You achieve this – we get paid, everyone is happy. If we don’t, we have failed. It’s not hard to sell. Yorkshire is by far the best county in the UK and an easy sell. I think we will do well.

He adds: “You go to America and you say ‘Yorkshire’ and they have a Yorkshire terrier in their head. They don’t even know it’s a place. That’s our job: to make sure people understand where this place is. If instead of flying out and maybe going to York for a day, they’re staying for a week, then we’ve done our job.

Scott’s ‘confession’ of the Lancashire base

Robin Scott is a proud Yorkshireman from Wensleydale but has something of a confession to make – he currently lives just across the border in Lancashire.

He says that after starting his e-commerce business, broadband issues in Swaledale where he lived forced him to move.

“Broadband in Swaledale, as anyone who lives there will tell you, is not very good. As I had young children I wanted to work from home so I moved to a small area just on the edge of the Yorkshire/Cumbria border which has a rural broadband scheme called Broadband for the Rural North .

“So technically I live in a bad place called Lancashire!”

Silicon Dales also based its company in Manchester at the same time to take advantage of the presence of other tech companies based in the city.

“To be honest, it was the best decision we could make.”

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