Tourism bosses in the North East have defended the region after it failed to make a list of top 10 destinations in the UK.
No area of the North East was included in travel website TripAdvisor’s top 10 destinations according to Brits, or its top 10 destinations according to international travellers.
But although tourism bosses from NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Visit County Durham and Northumberland Tourism, all said work still needed to be done to help boost tourism, each said the region still had a lot to offer visitors.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative said that despite challenging times, the region is still a popular destination for both domestic and international visitors.
“Last year over 425,000 international visitors chose to stay in North East England and experience the beauty of our coast and countryside and the breadth of our cultural, heritage and tourism attractions; whilst 95% of visitors to our region come from within the UK, international visitors account for 18% of total visitor spend,” she said.
“NewcastleGateshead Initiative works hard to attract even more high spending international visitors, particularly from Ireland, Holland, Germany and Belgium – four countries which account for a significant proportion of our international visitors and which have direct flight and ferry routes into the North East.”
But she added that the lack of a direct transatlantic flight did reduce the number of visitors coming to the North East from the USA and Canada, however other main routes would help attract large numbers of visitors in 2015 for the Rugby World Cup.
Melanie Sensicle, chief executive at Visit County Durham, said attractions such as Durham Cathedral and the Lumiere festival were great pulls to the region, but also said that there was no place to be complacent.
And Jude Leach, general manager for Northumberland Tourism added that the region was ambitious to attract more attention from tourists. But TripAdvisor spokesperson, Stephanie Boyle said all was not lost for the region. She said: “Unfortunately, Newcastle and the North East did not make it into the list of the top 10 destinations for traveller interest this year, however, when we consider the other destinations that feature, there is no reason why the area could not appear in future lists.”