Fresh hope has been given to plans to reinstate the Newcastle-Norway ferry as the region gets a £300,000 investment in tourism.
The North East has been given the money to try and encourage more visitors from Scandinavia and it will be spent on exploring links with potential operators.
It comes after Newcastle City Council backed Liberal Democrat plans to promote the importance of the route, which was dropped in 2008. Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, who has previously worked with the Port of Tyne to look at the feasibility of the route, said they were delighted national funding had been made available in the budget.
She said: “We are delighted that national funding has been earmarked to support measures to encourage tourism from Scandinavia to the North East.
“The region has long enjoyed trade, tourism and cultural connections with the Scandinavian nations and this money will help to encourage stronger links going forward.
“Clearly a potential opportunity to strengthen connectivity would be the reinstatement of a Norway-Newcastle ferry route.
“Since the Bergen to Newcastle ferry ceased operation in 2008, we have worked proactively with Port of Tyne, local authorities and more recently with the North East LEP and VisitEngland to explore opportunities to reinstate this important connection between the North East and Scandinavia.
“Most recent estimates indicate a ferry route could deliver significant numbers of passengers a year and provide a major economic boost for the region, as a result of both improved trade links and inbound tourism.
“The national support announced by the Chancellor could make this long held aspiration a reality and will undoubtedly deliver improved connectivity for both the visitor economy and the business community of the North East.”
Lib Dem Newcastle City Councillor Greg Stone, who asked the council to back the International Campaign for a Ferry to Norway, said: “I’m delighted that the North East will get budget funding to promote the region to Scandinavian tourists.”