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North East secures significant tourism growth

3rd February 2016

Categories: Latest News

Latest results from a three-year project to grow tourism across England show significant economic impact for the North East, generating £109m worth of additional tourism spend in the region and supporting 2,043 jobs over a three year period – far exceeding initial targets set.

Delivered by destination marketing organisations NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism and Visit County Durham, a series of domestic marketing campaigns between 2012 and 2015 aimed to inspire UK residents to take more holidays in North East England. Part of the VisitEngland-led Growing Tourism Locally project, funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), activity included advertising in national and regional print publications, broadcast media, digital media and outdoor advertising - highlighting the very best of the region’s visitor offer.

RGF funding was matched with private sector funding and NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism and Visit County Durham each worked with key partners and tourism organisations in the region to deliver maximum return on investment for their campaigns.

Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “The Growing Tourism Locally programme provided a valuable opportunity to raise the profile of key North East destinations and to attract and secure significant economic growth for the area. Tourism is the fourth largest sector of the regional economy and these latest results demonstrate both the success of our campaigns and the continued strength of the industry. The visitor economy in NewcastleGateshead alone is worth £1.4bn annually and its popularity as a city break destination continues to grow. But we’re by no means complacent; we’re continuing to deliver targeted domestic and international campaigns to market NewcastleGateshead on a national and international stage, in order to drive visitor numbers, spend and further growth in the years ahead.”

Jude Leitch, Director of Northumberland Tourism, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have confirmation of the success of our promotion as part of the Growing Tourism Locally project. This campaign came at a time when Northumberland’s tourism industry was grappling with recession and really needed a helping hand. It’s wonderful to see how much new tourism spend we managed to generate and how many additional people have benefited from jobs in tourism as a result.  We are still reaping the rewards with a 4.6% increase in visitors to Northumberland during 2014 and growth expected to continue in future.”

Michelle Gorman, Managing Director at Visit County Durham, said: “These fantastic results are testament not only to the strength of the region’s tourism offer, but also to the way in which our tourism industry came together to work in partnership. Many Durham businesses took up the opportunity to be part of, and benefit from, the county’s biggest ever marketing campaign. And this partnership continues, with further national marketing campaigns for Durham planned for 2016 which will build upon this success.”

Lady Cobham CBE, Chairman of VisitEngland Advisory Board said: “It is fantastic to see the results of the Growing Tourism Locally campaign which is aimed at driving growth, by encouraging Brits to book a short break at home in one of the many wonderful destinations on offer across England. The results speak for themselves. A brilliant result; promoting England as a world-class holiday destination.”

Total annual visitor figures for the North East show that 64 million visits generated a total of £3.9bn expenditure, supporting a total of 55,000 jobs in the region in 2014 (latest available figures).


Media contact:

Kathie Wilcox
Head of Marketing and Communications
NewcastleGateshead Initiative
0191 440 5742

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