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Monday, 24 September, 2001, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Yorkshire launches tourism campaign
Walkers on North Yorkshire Moors
The campaign will publicise the region's national parks
Almost 2m is being spent on a campaign to restore Yorkshire's tourist trade.

The industry in the region has been losing an estimated 75m a week because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

A campaign being launched on Monday by the regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, and Yorkshire Tourist Board is its biggest publicity push.

The campaign aims to promote Yorkshire as a destination for short breaks and days out.

Yorkshire woodland
Foot-and-mouth has hit visitor numbers
It will emphasise that the region has large areas of national park and also details the large numbers of castles, gardens and historic houses.

The campaign will run until March 2002.

It started in Sheffield as tourism officials began a tour of the region's railway stations.

For the first time television adverts will also be used.

The start of the campaign coincides with the reopening of many public rights of way by North Yorkshire County Council.

Ramblers encouraged

The main paths are at Wensleydale and Skipton.

Walkers and ramblers are being encouraged to return to the countryside as much as possible.

But paths within three kilometres of farms infected with foot-and-mouth will remain closed.

The foot-and-mouth outbreak has hurt many businesses in the Yorkshire region.

The worst hit have been those in the national parks - the North York Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District.

Keith Crane, of Yorkshire Forward, told BBC News Online: "We have had small firms struggling to pay the most basic bills.

Business slump

"And there is a knock-on. If you do not have people spending money in the hotels, for example, then the laundry and other services end up suffering.

"It is a knock-on effect right across the economy."

The business slump is highlighted by a Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) report published on Monday which criticises the government's response to foot-and-mouth.

It says the decision to close off the countryside caused more damage to the rural economy than the virus itself.

The report claims ministers failed to understand that food production plays a relatively small part in the modern rural economy. Tourism is worth far more.



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