A national marketing campaign to attract visitors to Northumberland and Tyne and Wear has generated nearly £9m extra in six months.
Northumberland’s Historic Spirit and Have the Tyne of Your Life are part of VisitEngland’s three-year, Growing Tourism Locally activity, funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
In Northumberland, visitors were encouraged to take advantage of a year packed with historical events, from the 100th anniversary of Cragside house to the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.
Meanwhile, in Tyne and Wear, the distinctive Geordie tone of voice was used to appeal to potential domestic visitors, encouraging them to learn more and book a short break.
Profiling the variety of the region’s cultural offer, alongside shopping and nightlife, the campaign also saw travel features in key national and consumer titles.
Figures have now revealed that visitors spent £4.3m in Northumberland in six months and £4.5m in Tyne and Wear.
The extra cash generated was also thought to have provided nearly 170 new jobs for the area.
Figures for County Durham will be released in the New Year.
VisitEngland works with Northumberland Tourism, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Visit County Durham to deliver the campaign.
Jude Leitch, of Northumberland Tourism, said: “Northumberland is often considered a ‘hidden gem’.
“We want to change that and introduce as many UK visitors as possible to our spectacular scenery, interesting attractions and fascinating stories.
“We need to let people know just how much there is to do in Northumberland and how easy we are to reach and these campaigns help us to do that.”
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “These results are really encouraging and demonstrate that when we highlight what makes us different as a place, visitors feel a sense of warmth and excitement about NewcastleGateshead, encouraging them to stay longer, visit again and tell their friends about the experiences they’ve had when they come here.
The news came at the end of what has been a successful year for tourist attractions in Northumberland.
Kielder Water & Forest Park was voted Best Tourism Experience in the recent VisitEngland tourism awards 2013.
Also, 1,500 sq km of countryside, at Northumberland National Park and Kielder was given protected Dark Sky Park status, the largest in Europe.
Finally, the return visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham prompted an influx of visitors to the county and its cathedral and also Holy Island in Northumberland.