The impending holiday season is a time when many of us set about exploring the region's cultural treasures, and it seems that this year more than ever, North East England's vibrant cultural offer has never been more evident.
One of the most notable events of the summer is the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham where it spent 500 of its 1,300 year history. The arrival of this extraordinary book is expected to attract thousands of people to the city, while they're being exhibited at Durham University's Palace Green Library.
And in Wearside, Turner Prize winning artist Grayson Perry has picked the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens to be the first venue to host a major national exhibition of tapestries which have in part been inspired by the people of Sunderland and its social heritage. The city has also seen the re-opening of the National Glass Centre following a £2.3million redevelopment, which I'm sure will further cement the city's position as an international cultural venue.
These kind of coups of national and international significance go a long way towards putting the North East on the map as a 'must-visit' place for culture and the arts, increasing visitor numbers to the region and in turn boosting the regional economy.
Summer also brings with it the return of many of the Sunderland Air Show on 27 and 28 July. The event is one of the largest seafront air shows in the UK; attracting crowds of around 1,200,000 across the two days. Activities of this kind are hugely important to the regional economy. For the air show alone, research shows that each person who visits the city spends £25, a figure that rises to £125 for those who stay overnight, so it is estimated that the event generates as much as £12million towards the region's economy each year. And that's just one event.
With so much going on throughout the region, the opportunities for the many creative and arts based businesses to get involved are huge.
Here at the North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC) we've provided strategic advice and guidance to businesses across a wide range of sectors, including many from the creative sector including composers and designers and are well-placed to help companies capitalise on the opportunities that are out there.
:: John Anderson CBE is chairman of North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) Ltd