Major boost for North East tourism as region chosen for initiative to boost visitor numbers

  • The aim is to create a one-stop-shop to show the best of the region, attract investment and stimulate the local economy
  • The program will help attract more visitors through new initiatives and will target major national and international events and markets

The North East has been chosen as the site of a major tourism project which aims to attract more investment, host more sporting, commercial and cultural events, support business growth, create new jobs and increase the number of national and international tourists.

Tourist boards, known as Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), help businesses and visitors discover an area and often lead the development of the local tourism sector.

But last year’s independent BMD review by Nick de Bois revealed the landscape is overcrowded and fragmented. For example, there are over 150 DMOs of all shapes and sizes in England, making it difficult for tourists planning holidays and businesses looking to invest.

To address this issue and ensure that the country provides the best service to tourists, the government is streamlining the DMOs by accrediting the best performing organizations so that they can develop the visitor economy and attract major business, cultural and cultural events. sportsmen. The plans were drawn up earlier this year.

As part of plans to overhaul the current system, NewcastleGateshead Initiative in the North East has been selected to lead a pilot project in partnership with Visit Northumberland and Visit County Durham working in seven local authority areas. The partnership will receive £2.25 million to help successfully develop and market the region as a must-visit destination while attracting new private investment and driving growth.

The aim of the partnership model is to extend the tourist season and attract more visitors from across the UK and overseas through initiatives such as the creation of the Tour de Yorkshire, after the Tour stage de France in Yorkshire in 2015, or the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.

By working in partnership, tourist boards will be able to attract new hotels, develop major attractions such as the Eden Project in Cornwall, build on local heritage and cultural assets through heritage applications World Heritage Site, to develop the catering offer and to maximize the potential of the region’s natural assets, in particular its starry skies, its beaches and its national parks.

In collaboration with the tourism industry and the growing digital cluster, the partnerships will also ensure that the tourism offer is fully accessible to all visitors, including families and visitors with access needs. For example, NewcastleGateshead Initiative recently worked with technology company Kerckhoffs to capture an immersive experience of Newcastle’s Quayside market using Eyemmersive technology. The video means visitors can virtually explore the market and prepare children with special educational needs and disabilities before they experience it in real life.

Tourism Minister Stuart Andrew said:

From Hadrian’s Wall to Durham Cathedral to the bright lights of Newcastle, the North East has a lot to offer tourists from all over the world, but we want to go further and attract even more visitors.

We are exploring what more we can do to streamline collaboration between tourism organizations in the region, improve the region’s offering and how it markets itself.

With funding of £2.25m, we hope the North East can be a trailblazer for other regions by unlocking its potential and putting its best foot forward.

VisitEngland director Andrew Stokes said:

Congratulations to the North East for being announced as a pilot region for the Destination Development Partnership (DDP).

The UK government’s decision to proceed with a pilot approach is a valuable opportunity to prove the DDP concept, demonstrating the benefits these reforms will have if rolled out nationwide. We will also be able to really measure an element of funding at the regional level to develop tourism and what impact that will have, thus strengthening the case for future funding.

We look forward to working with NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Northumberland and Durham Tourist Boards to develop the DDP pilot, ensuring we have the right infrastructure in place to enable England to continue to be an attractive destination for national and international visitors.

Sarah Green, CEO, NewcastleGateshead Initiative:

This pilot project is an incredible opportunity to unlock our growth potential in the North East, attract more visitors, reach new international markets, create jobs, develop businesses, attract investment and to strengthen local pride in our place.

As the premier Destination Development Partnership, we will work with our partners at Visit County Durham and Visit Northumberland to ensure the tourism sector is supported and grows across the region’s seven local authorities. Our region will serve as a model for the rest of England, and we couldn’t be more proud to help shape the future landscape of destination management organisations, working in partnership to deliver local economic growth through the visitor economy. .

From Auckland Castle to Alnwick Gardens, dark skies to sparkling places, fish and chips to fine dining – the aim of this partnership is to provide inclusive hospitality for all, attracting more international and domestic visitors with a fantastic regional offer and visitor experience .

The partnerships should help businesses create sustainable tourism offerings, reduce their carbon footprint and provide consumers with the opportunity to have fun while minimizing their impact on the environment.

Thanks to the new partnerships, tourists will know where to turn to find quality, reliable information adapted to their destination. In the future, this will also mean that tourist boards can work more effectively with local authorities to explore new initiatives such as travel initiatives that allow tourists to easily move around the region.

Evidence will be collected throughout the pilot to understand the effectiveness of the proposed model and to support any future funding considerations.

If the pilot is successful, the government will look to roll out the partnership model to other parts of England.


Notes to Editors:

  • See the full answer to the DMO review on
  • DCMS supports leading sectors nationwide to grow the economy and make a difference where people live.
  • DCMS sectors, such as technology, telecommunications and creative industries, contributed £211 billion to the economy last year and support more than four million jobs across the UK. And they are creating new jobs, with 250,000 more jobs today than in 2019, before the pandemic.
  • Tourism is vital to the English economy. It brought in £74billion to the UK in 2019, employing people across the country, delivering local economic growth and making people proud of where they live.

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