Minister: Brexit would hit tourism industry in North East

Tourism Minister David Evennett during his visit to North Tyneside, with Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell. Picture by Alison Spedding
Tourism Minister David Evennett during his visit to North Tyneside, with Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell. Picture by Alison Spedding
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Tourism Minister David Evennett, who has been visiting Northumberland and North Tyneside, has said the region's booming tourism industry would be hit hard by Britain leaving the EU.

He called for the region to back a vote to Remain on June 23, for the sake of the North East tourism industry and the thousands of jobs across the region that depend on its success.

It comes as data roaming charges will be abolished across Europe on Saturday thanks to a new EU regulation coming into force.

Mr Evennett said: "Whether it is exploring the medieval history of Holy Island, hill walking in the breathtaking scenery of the Northumberland National Park or enjoying a world-class performance at The Sage Gateshead, the North East's tourism offer is as diverse as it is impressive.

"It is no surprise, therefore, that the region is attracting an ever-increasing number of visitors. According to Visit England, North East visitor figures grew by seven per cent in 2015 - a statistic way above the national average of four per cent, which makes the North East the second fastest-growing region for tourism in the country.

"This tourism boom is fantastic news for the North East, but, make no mistake, this would be affected should the UK opt to leave Europe on June 23.

"The vast majority of visitors to the UK come from Europe. A report commissioned by ABTA predicts that post-Brexit, not only would there be fewer flights between the UK and EU countries, but those flights would be more expensive.

"Uncertainty could also weaken the pound with all the consequences that entails. All the evidence points to isolationist countries seeing their tourism industry shrink. It makes no sense to place what we have at risk and take a leap into the dark."