Three projects that aim to boost tourism Businesses in the North East have been announced after new figures showed the industry brought in more than £100m in the first half of the year.
Figures from VisitBritain show that though there was only a small increase in visitors to the North East in the first half of 2017, tourists were staying longer – with time spent in the region rising 41% – and spending more, up 14% to £108m.
Now grants from the Discover England Fund are aiming to build on that momentum, in particular in bringing overseas tourists to the North East’s historic cities, coastline and countryside.
In one scheme, the Northumberland National Park Authority has joined forces with England’s other nine national parks to introduce a collection of experiences designed to inspire visitors from Australia and Germany.
A second scheme by the England’s Historic Cities group will attempt to attract visitors from the US to Durham and Carlisle by using augmented reality to bring the cities and their stories to life.
A third project from the National Coastal Tourism Academy aims to bring more visitors from Germany, Holland and France to the North East coast by using interactive video technology that allows tourists to build personalised itineraries.
All three projects have received £1m from the Discovery England Fund in return for putting in £400,000 of their own money.
Tony Gates, chief executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, welcomed the announcement of the national parks scheme.
He said: “Visit England’s Discover England Fund gives us an exciting opportunity to showcase the special qualities of Northumberland and our wider National Park family to a broader international market.
“Our National Park communities are part of English culture, passing down unique traditions from generation to generation. They offer a range of memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that can only be appreciated from within our National Park landscapes.
“This is why National Parks should play a key role in the promotion of our national visitor offer as the parks are an internationally recognised brand and provide high quality visitor experiences in iconic landscapes.
“Currently, our National Parks attract over 94m visitors a year, of which over 90% are domestic. This programme will be instrumental in promoting England’s National Parks to new audiences whilst helping us to continue growing global support for the enjoyment and care of these unique, living landscapes and the rural communities within them.”
The three projects operating in the North East have won funding from the Discover England Fund, which was announced in 2015 as a way of boosting tourism by using technology and transport solutions to link up different parts of the country.
VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said: “Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and the continued growth demonstrates the industry’s increasing importance as a key driver of economic growth across the whole of the UK.”
Source : Chroniclelive