BUSINESSES in Ryedale are confident of a bumper holiday season this year, with prospects being given a boost with the launch of the Tourism North Yorkshire's new guide.

Ena Dent, chairman of the organisation and proprietor of a popular holiday cottage complex in Rosedale, said: "We are very hopeful of a good season, especially if the weather is favourable."

She said that many operators were reporting good bookings and their hopes were being further buoyed by its holiday guide,, of which 60,000 copies are now being distributed nationwide and on mainland Europe.

"A big influx of tourists has so many benefits to Ryedale because they help out local village shops, pubs and post offices to survive, as well as providing many hundreds of jobs," said Mrs Dent.

"Our aim is to bring the world to Yorkshire, although Ryedale itself is not a brand name - it's the destinations within it such as our market towns."

She said Ryedale District Council was very supportive of the tourist industry - estimated to be worth nearly £100m a year to the area's economy, with the new marketing and promotion campaign being promoted for Kirkbymoorside, Pickering, Helmsley, Malton and Norton.

One plan on the drawing board, said Mrs Dent, is to have special leaflets produced for Ryedale's beauty spot villages such as Hutton-le-Hole, Thornton-le-Dale and Rosedale.

Anne McIntosh, MP for Ryedale, said: "Visitors are hugely important in the prosperity of North Yorkshire and I know who visits will be treated to some great hospitality and truly magnificent scenery.

"Add to this the Tour de France Grand Depart this year, and the region's superb cycling opportunities, including the Dalby Forest trails, and the reasons to visit become more and more compelling."

Janet Deacon, director for Ryedale, Scarborough and the Yorkshire Coast for Welcome to Yorkshire, the regional tourism marketing organisation, said: "I'm sure we can all look forward to a splendid summer season, thanks to the Tour de France and the many thousands of people it will bring to Yorkshire, including our area even though the race will not be directly coming to Ryedale and the coast. The exposure our part of North Yorkshire will get world-wide on television, will be tremendous, providing our area with promotion we could never even dream of buying."

Television crews operating from helicopters will be filming Yorkshire's countryside including Ryedale during the build up to the Grand Depart of the race in early July.