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Visitor boom sees economy exceed £2billion in Tyne and Wear

6th September 2010

Categories: Convention Bureau News

Visitor boom sees economy exceed £2billion in Tyne and Wear

The latest tourism figures show that the visitor economy in NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding Tyne and Wear area has increased by a significant 3% in 2009 compared to 2008, bringing the economic value of tourism across the area to £2.03billion.

The results demonstrate that the area was responsible for a huge 52% of the North East’s visitor economy in 2009, and NewcastleGateshead accounted for 61% of that figure, or £1.23billion worth of visitor spend. 

Jamie Martin, chair of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative board, said; “Although it’s been a difficult few years for the economy it’s fantastic to see tourism bucking the trend and growing by such a significant amount. These results cement the importance of tourism to the local economy, 2009 saw many great developments in the tourism infrastructure including the opening of the Great North Museum, which has been such a wonderful success story.

“We’ve continued to invest in marketing NewcastleGateshead to key international and national markets and have taken advantage of ‘staycation’ trends to encourage residents across the UK to enjoy days out and weekends in NewcastleGateshead and Tyne and Wear. 

“The weak pound has also presented us with a fantastic opportunity to promote NewcastleGateshead to the Dutch market, resulting in a significant increase in visitors from Holland through the Port of Tyne. We’re thrilled to see sustained growth across Tyne and Wear in all areas of the industry.”

NewcastleGateshead Key Facts
• The number of visitors to NewcastleGateshead has increased by 3% on 2008 to 19.28million in 2009
• The visitor spend in NewcastleGateshead amounts to £1.23billion
• NewcastleGateshead’s visitor economy supports 19,248 jobs
• NewcastleGateshead accounts for 48% of visitors and 61% of spend in Tyne and Wear. This is largely down to the number of visitors staying in commercial property in the city centre.
• Day visitors to NewcastleGateshead totalled 17.68million in 2009
• Overnight visitors staying in NewcastleGateshead totalled 1.6million in 2009

Tyne and Wear Key Facts
• Visitor expenditure in Tyne and Wear increased by 3% on 2008 to £2.03billion in 2009.
• Visitor numbers in Tyne and Wear have increased by 3% to 40.1million in 2009.
• The number of jobs supported by the visitor economy in Tyne and Wear is up by 2% to 31,856.
• The number of overnight visitors in Tyne and Wear during 2009 totalled 3.16million
• The number of day visitors in Tyne and Wear during 2009 totalled 36.99million
• The daily expenditure of overnight visitor staying in the city centre is £105.78, the expenditure of day visitors to Tyne and Wear’s coastal resorts is £20.60.

Case Studies 

Great North Museum
Opening in May 2009, Great North Museum attracted 638,454 visitors in 2009 – more than double its target visitor number for the year, taking it into the top 20 free visitor attractions in the country for visitor numbers, and the only free attraction in North East England to make the list.
The museum hit its 1millionth visitor in August 2010 and has continued to be popular with local residents and visitors to the ‘twin cities’.

Dr Sarah Glynn, manager for the Great North Museum: Hancock, said; "The Great North Museum: Hancock's visitor target for its first year of opening was 300,000. Since the Museum re-opened in May 2009 we have welcomed 1,006,638 people through the doors, with 852,533 of these in the first twelve months. It has been wonderful to see so many people enjoying this world-class Museum and the feedback from visitors has also been excellent, with one visitor saying that ‘it puts ‘Great’ into Museums!’” 

Dutch Campaign 
Newcastle Gateshead Initiative’s Dutch Campaign took the shape of an integrated marketing and PR campaign developed with DFDS Seaways to promote NewcastleGateshead as a city break destination through the themes of culture, shopping and sport.

The campaign aimed to take advantage of the weakness of the pound against the euro by promoting value for money messages and encouraging Dutch visitors to book a MiniCruise from Amsterdam to Newcastle in the autumn and winter.

The route between Amsterdam and Newcastle has performed exceptionally well during 2009 delivering more new international visitors into the city. 

The DFDS mini cruises gave visitors a day in the city while City Break’s involved at least one night’s stay in the City Centre, popular destinations for visitors include the Metrocentre in Gateshead and the shopping offer in Newcastle City Centre, as well as the twin cities’ top attractions including BALTIC, Great North Museum and the Quayside. 

In total the campaign accounted for an extra 1,567 visitors to NewcastleGateshead. Around 1,494 of these visitors came over on a MiniCruise where they spent around 6 hours in the City mainly shopping. A further 73 visitors travelled as part of City Break Package where they spent a night in a City Centre Hotel. 

Based on the average levels of expenditure by Dutch Visitors and the numbers attracted it is estimated that the additional activity generated around £134,000 of visitor expenditure in the City. In addition to this partnership activity between DFDS Seaways and Newcastle United Football Club delivered an additional 750 visitors through tailored football packages.
Stadium of Light 

Putting on a good show has been a huge part of the growth in visitors to Sunderland in 2009. The Stadium of Light launched the first round of Stadium concerts with Oasis and Take That.
Gary Hutchinson, SAFC group general manager - catering & events, said; “Concerts have added another dimension to what we offer, not only at the Stadium of Light, but across the city as a whole.  Over 150,000 people attended the three concerts staged at the stadium in 2009, bringing a significant boost to the city’s economy in the region of £9.6million. The success of the first concerts put Sunderland well and truly on the map as a major concert venue and a tourism destination.

“Alongside the latest figures for tourism in Sunderland the success of the Stadium’s concerts show the city to be a growing destination and it’s easy to see why - we have first-class attractions with the National Glass Centre, Wearmouth-Jarrow World Heritage Bid Site of St. Peter’s Church, and redevelopment in Sunniside to name just a few. Cementing the Stadium of Light as a major events venue will provide an on-going boost that can only benefit the city in the long-term.”
Sunderland saw an increase in visitors of 3% to 9.08million and an increase in expenditure of 3% to £342.1million

For further information or interview opportunities please contact
Shelley Staines, Media and PR Manager,
0191 440 5739/07717 631 109

Notes to Editors
• For the full VisitEngland Vistor Attractions Survey see
• STEAM is a tourism economic impact model operated by Global Tourism Solutions (UK) ltd, providing monthly and annual estimates on teh value, volume and impact of tourism in teh North East Region
• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead. Its mission is to position and promote NewcastleGateshead as a leading European destination for leisure and business visitors.
• Created in 2000 by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council as a publicly and privately funded business, NewcastleGateshead Initiative has developed a strong brand for the area – promoting it nationally and internationally as a place to live, learn, work and visit.
• Tourism Tyne & Wear is the Area Tourism Partnership (ATP) for Tyne and Wear.
• The partnership is made up of key stakeholders involved in delivering, developing and promoting the visitor experience in Tyne & Wear and is supported by Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Sunderland City Council, South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council, and NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
• Tourism Tyne & Wear is a key partner in the Tourism Network North East. Along with the ATPs in Durham, Northumberland and Tees Valley and the tourism team based within One North East.


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