BOOSTING tourism in the North East will be at the top of the agenda this week as a campaign gets under way to encourage people to visit the region.
As English Tourism Week begins, North East tourist boards are gearing up to showcase attractions on offer with discounts and deals.
The Newcastle Falcons mascot – Flash the Falcon – stepped out in Hotel Indigo to launch NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s (NGI) drive as part of the national campaign, organised by VisitEngland.
The hotel is one of scores of businesses offering “Discover Deals”.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NGI, said: “Tourism is an incredibly important part of Newcastle-Gateshead’s economy, worth an estimated £1.26bn annually and employing more than 18,000 people. I am delighted so many of our partners wanted to be involved in celebrating the destination’s tourism offer, by providing an exclusive Discover Deal for English Tourism Week.
“The selection of deals available showcases the variety of visitor experiences on offer in NewcastleGateshead, and North East England. We would encourage visitors to make the most of these fantastic deals by discovering the many attractions and experiences right here on their doorstep. Discover Deals and English Tourism Week provides the perfect opportunity to do just that.”
Similar celebrations will be seen in Northumberland where today and tomorrow the annual Residents’ Festival is taking place, which offers reduced or free entry to 26 local attractions for people who live in Northumberland. This is part of a three-year plan to increase tourism in Northumberland by 6%, resulting in £32m being spent in the county.
A spokeswoman for Northumberland Tourism said: “We’re encouraging North East residents to enjoy the attractions and experiences on their doorsteps. This weekend is our annual Residents’ Festival which we hope will turn people into ambassadors for their area. We’re doing lots of social media and promotion to residents to encourage them to find out about all the great events happening in 2013, from the visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels, to the 150th anniversary of Cragside House and 500th anniversary of the battle of Flodden.”
Those living in County Durham can take advantage of the deal, including free Durham World Heritage Site Tours on March 23, and free entry to the Oriental Museum on March 24.