Tourism project in North East far exceeds targets

One of the Northumberland images used during the campaign.
One of the Northumberland images used during the campaign.

A three-year project to grow tourism generated £109million of additional spend in the region and supported 2,043 jobs in the North East, it was announced today.

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 the North East.

Jude Leitch, from Northumberland Tourism.

Jude Leitch, from Northumberland Tourism.

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 to highlight 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.

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 per cent increase in visitors to Northumberland during 2014 and growth expected to continue in future."

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

Lady Cobham CBE, chairman of the 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."