At forefront of tourism industry

A NORTHUMBERLAND tourism association has been ‘at the forefront’ of initiatives to develop tourism in the area during the recession.

At last Wednesday’s annual general meeting of Alnwick Tourism Association (ATA), members heard of the many initiatives planned and running to enhance tourism in the area.

Chairman Bruce Hewison said: “Since the recession started to bite the ATA has been at the forefront of initiatives to further develop our tourist offering.

“ATA is run by volunteers for the benefit of its members and a huge amount of effort aided by a tiny budget has kept us successful and able to trial more direct ways of generating business.

“We represent about £2million a week coming into our area’s economy in the summer months, and we’re looking at ways of extending the tourist season and ensuring that our more rural areas get a good slice of the action.”

Some of the results of a study commissioned from the business school of Newcastle University were also revealed.

The ATA’s Richard Wilson was responsible for liaising with the team. “I was very impressed with the university’s marketing consultancy project,” he said.

“The amount of energy and enthusiasm was matched by the highly-professional standard of the work and the report, and being able to get first-rate results while providing real-world experience for our local university is wholly in keeping with our ‘keep it local’ ethic.

“Some of the ideas are so good we’re having to keep them under wraps so we can steal a march on the competition.”

The report identifies ATA members as the Best of Britain because of the strong combination of quality accredited accommodation and the outstanding locations.