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Northern Tourism Growth Fund aims to drive additional visitor numbers and spend to North East England

17th November 2015

Categories: Latest News

Tourism bodies from across the North East have come together to help put the region on the international map as part of a £10m government funded programme to grow the value of the visitor economy to the North of England, helping to create an extra 3,280 jobs.
Destination Management Organisations NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Visit County Durham and Northumberland Tourism have joined with South Tyneside Council, Sunderland City Council and North Tyneside Council - alongside tourism organisations from across the North of England - to help deliver the Northern Tourism Growth Fund (NTGF) programme of activity, which is led by VisitEngland working closely with VisitBritain. 
Activity kicked off over the summer with a campaign targeting potential new visitors from the US. Led by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, it promoted the North East as a gateway to the North of England, highlighting the United Airlines flight between New York and Newcastle. 
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “The Northern Tourism Growth Fund has provided the North East and wider North with a hugely valuable opportunity to not only strengthen the profile of our many varied and diverse destinations to potential new international audiences, but to deepen our relationships with each other, our local tourism businesses and travel partners – ultimately boosting our local economies and global connectivity. 
“The US campaign, which took the opportunity to highlight the United Airlines route between New York and Newcastle, is just one example of where we have been able to pull together and deliver an impactful campaign that will help us to continue to grow the visitor economy of the region as a whole, especially as the flight is now set to return in 2016.” 
James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, said: “The Northern Tourism Growth Fund is a vital investment for the North of England; aiming to grow the visitor economy and help create an extra 3,280 jobs. We are delighted to see the initial results of some of the collaborative work from our destination partners and tourism businesses. The fund aims to put the assets of the North firmly on the international map; showcasing why it is such a great place to visit. I am confident that this is the start of more exciting news to come, building the foundation for a lasting legacy for tourism in the North of England.” 
Other key activity has seen representatives from Sunderland City Council and NewcastleGateshead Initiative join colleagues from other northern destinations at events in Chicago to promote the North East’s offer to corporate buyers and meetings planners.
NewcastleGateshead Initiative also joined VisitEngland and a team of destinations from across the North of England at IMEX America, which attracts thousands of conference organisers and exhibitors from across the US and around the world. 
The US is just one of five markets targeted by the fund including, Australia and New Zealand, China, Germany and The Netherlands, where Visit County Durham attended a media event with other partners in early November. As part of their role on the project working group for content curation, Visit County Durham is also working to ensure the North East’s most attractive assets are showcased as part of the full North of England offer, acting chief executive Michelle Gorman, said: “Activity delivered by the fund focusses on three themes, history, countryside and modern cities. With more than 2000-years of heritage stretching from Roman Britain to the Industrial Revolution, two UNESCO World-Heritage Sites, a National Park and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty across our coast and countryside, plus a cultural renaissance that has reinvigorated our towns and cities, we can be certain that the North East has an attractive and diverse offer for international visitors looking to explore the North of England.”
Representatives from South Tyneside Council and NewcastleGateshead Initiative are also on the programme board to steer and drive the successful delivery of campaign activity. 
Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “South Tyneside has a lot to offer tourists and we are proud of what the area brings to the region’s overall visitor experience. This collaborative approach gives us a real opportunity to come together to showcase and promote the North East as an international visitor destination, giving people a chance to enjoy new experiences and discover the area’s hidden gems. It will help us to boost tourism and attract more investment, growing the wider Northern economy. With important transport links to the rest of the world through our ports and airports, making travel easy, we have much to offer to visitors from around the world, wherever their interests lie, business or leisure.” 
The £10m Northern Tourism Growth Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding from partners in the public and private sectors, (delivering activity to the total value of £20m). The fund aims to deliver 2 million additional visitor nights into the North of England. Established as a major opportunity for the North of England, the NTGF represents a significant investment from central government into one of the UK’s most important sectors. Three key themes outlined to illustrate why it is a great place to visit include; history, countryside and modern cities, with three supporting themes to bring the area to life including; food and drink, live experiences and great ways to travel around and see more. In addition there is an emphasis on how to visit through international air and sea ports, the compact nature of the area that lends itself to 3, 5 and 7 day visits; and that the area provides great value for money.  
The programme is delivering 26 separate projects in total and targeting the following overseas markets; Australia/NZ, China, Germany, the Netherlands and the US.  Principally focused on marketing and promotion but with elements of product development; the programme has been designed by the destinations in the North of England and is being delivered with VisitBritain, the principal international delivery partner. VisitEngland is the accountable body for the fund and is responsible for its management.
Supporting Quotes:
Jude Leitch, director of Northumberland Tourism, said: “We fully support the work being done through the Northern Tourism Growth Fund. The North East is a fantastic and diverse region waiting to be explored and we welcome any chance to be able to highlight it. It is important to work with other parts of the region to highlight our unique culture and heritage to exciting new markets.” 
Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture at Sunderland City Council, said: “We are proud of all the things to see and do here in Sunderland. Our excellent 2014 tourism statistics show that tourism in Sunderland is strong, with increases in visitor expenditure, jobs in tourism and visitors to the city. Working in partnership with other tourism agencies and organisations on the Northern Tourism Growth Fund has provided us with great opportunities to raise the profile of the North of England and Sunderland to various international markets.”
ENDS. 
For media enquiries contact:
Shelley Armstrong
Media & PR Manager
NewcastleGateshead Initiative
T. +44 (0)191 440 5739
M. +44 (0)7717 631 109
E. shelley.armstrong@ngi.org.uk  
Notes to Editors
About The Northern Tourism Growth Fund
•           A £10m Northern Tourism Growth Fund for tourism investment was announced by Government on the 6th November 2014. The total programme expenditure will be £20m, consisting of the core £10m funding from Central Government and £10m estimated match funding from partners in the public and private sectors. Match funding will be both cash funding and in-kind. 
•           This fund is being managed by VisitEngland, working closely with international delivery partner VisitBritain and partner organisations from across the North of England, including 38 destinations. 
•           The aim is to deliver a significant step-change in collaborative working to profile and promote the North of England internationally - through new, targeted and impactful activity which will change perceptions, grow leisure and business visitors, put the assets of the North firmly on the international map and deliver both long term economic impact and the foundations for a lasting legacy for the visitor economy of the North.  
•           The programme aims to deliver an additional 2m visitor nights to the North of England equating to £177m in international visitor expenditure and create 3,280 jobs. 
•           The North for this purpose is defined as the old Government Office regions of Yorkshire and Humberside, North West and North East. 
•           The target markets are: USA, Australia/New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, China

About VisitEngland
•           VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors.  Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics. 
•           England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84 per cent of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.
•           For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit www.visitengland.com/biz  or www.visitengland.com  for consumer information.

About VisitBritain
•           VisitBritain is the strategic body for inbound tourism, ensuring that international tourism continues to deliver economic growth and jobs across the nations and regions of Britain.
•           Our strength is that we understand international customers and markets. Our international network of offices which covers 22 markets is a resource supporting the industry and destinations to grow the value of tourism exports. We are a founding partner of the GREAT campaign working alongside organisations such as the FCO, UKTI and The British Council. 
•           Locking in private sector funding: In the last three years we have raised £43 million from commercial partners - airlines, operators and global brands such as the English Premier League and Sony - to match-fund international tourism marketing. 
•           Customer Focused: Our strength is our understanding of international markets and customers. We know what motivates overseas customers to travel and how to inspire them to choose Britain.

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