International tourism boost is just magic

Visitors from across Europe are heading to the North-east thanks to Harry Potter, Captain Cook and Hadrian's Wall.

Visitors from across Europe are heading to the North-east thanks to Harry Potter, Captain Cook and Hadrian's Wall.

The region is being promoted abroad on an unprecedented scale with representatives of the region attending trade fairs in Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Norway and Ireland during the spring and there are already signs that these trips are starting to make a difference.

The latest available figures from the International Passenger Survey show a 6pc increase in international tourists visiting the region.

Germany's interest in Harry Potter has made the region the second most popular page on the national EnjoyEngland website as fans log on to find more about Alnwick Castle which has been used as a location for the films.

The Netherlands call centre has received more calls about Hadrian's Wall than any other attraction in the UK.

Durham Cathedral and Castle, Newcastle and Gateshead and the Captain Cook Birthplace museum in Middlesbrough are among the other iconic attractions causing visitors to show an interest in the region.

To make it even easier for people to discover these and other locations, the www.visitnortheastengland.com website and a number of brochures have been translated into Norwegian, Dutch, German, Swedish and Italian.

Overall, international visitors to the website have increased by 47pc since January when the international tourism marketing team at regional development agency One Northeast started its campaign, with exceptional increases in the key markets of the Netherlands, Germany and Norway.

With international tourism already worth more than £50m to the region according to the IPS survey, even a small increase in visitors would have a considerable impact on the region's economy.

One NorthEast's tourism marketing manager Kelly Walton said: "Competition for international visitors is fierce but working closely with partners across the region we are able to promote a comprehensive tourism package that is proving attractive to visitors."

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer