Film and TV coverage boosts visitor numbers

New figures reveal that almost 10 million people visited Northumberland in 2015, pumping £816m into the economy '“ and tourism bosses believe 2016 can be even better.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 2:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 1:46 pm
Robson Green on Bamburgh beach in the shadow of Bamburgh Castle where he forages in the rock pools for seaweed and limpets. Picture courtesy of ITV

Northumberland Tourism has publicised statistics from STEAM – The Economic Impact Report, which analyses the impact that tourism has on the local economy.

And the figures for last year make happy reading, with visitor numbers, money spent in the county and the number of jobs in the industry all on the increase, compared to 2014.

The rise has been attributed to a number of factors, including the county’s rising profile on both TV and film.

The figures show that 9.5 million people visited Northumberland in 2015; up by three per cent on 2014. The number of overnight visitors stood at 1.7 million – a rise of 2.8 per cent – while the amount of day visits was 7.8 million, up 2.9 per cent.

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The amount of money spent in the county rose by 5.5 per cent, while the number of industry jobs was more than 11,000.

Northumberland Tourism’s general manager Jude Leitch said: “We are really pleased with the figures. One of the most pleasing things is that the number of visits went up by three per cent and the economic impact rose by 5.5 per cent, standing at £816m. The figures also show that people are staying in the county for longer.”

The hope is the 2016 figures will surpass the 2015 results.

She said: “We are confident that they will be the same or increase a bit more. We did have a slow start to 2016 – it was quite a dull spring and the bad weather after Christmas did not help – but we have been told that over the last few months it has been really busy and lots of people have come to the area.”

Northumberland Tourism’s forthcoming PR drive will focus on the county’s stunning dark skies. The marketing campaign – entitled Northumberland, the land that’s just as good with the lights off – will run from October to February.

“We are gearing up for lots of people to come to Northumberland to experience this,” said Jude.

As for the rise in 2015, Jude puts it down to several factors.

She said: “It came on the back of the Tales from Northumberland programme with Robson Green, which was a wonderful advertisement for the county. There was also the Tour of Britain which came through Northumberland and there has been lots of hard work put in by everyone in the tourism industry, telling everybody they can about the great experiences people can have here.”

Northumberland Tourism has also published its return on investment for 2013 to 2015. The figures show that the organisation invested £705,122, influencing a visitor spend of £221.4m and during this period, 1,823 jobs were created in Northumberland’s tourism industry, while a further 2,321 were safeguarded.

Northumberland is currently in second place in the British Travel Awards – Best UK Holiday County/Destination category. To help it win, vote before September 30 at visitnorthumberland.com/sharenland/vote