Marketing campaigns give boost to tourism economy

Latest results from a three-year project to grow tourism across England show significant economic impact for the North East.

Wednesday, 3rd February 2016, 6:00 am
Milky Way over Sycamore Gap.

Figures show it has generated £109m worth of additional tourism spend in the region and supported 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.

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.

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“We are still reaping the rewards with a 4.6% increase in visitors to Northumberland during 2014 and growth expected to continue in future.”

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.”

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.