Successful 2014 for county as tourism booms

Promotional posters featuring Bamburgh Castle in Heathrow earlier this year.
Promotional posters featuring Bamburgh Castle in Heathrow earlier this year.

Northumberland’s tourism industry has made huge gains in 2014, figures have revealed.

Visitnorthumberland.com, the official destination website for the county, is on track to hit one million unique visitors for the year – up 14 per cent on 2013.

Recent research concluded the website generated £112.3million for tourism in Northumberland in 2013, more than doubling since 2011.

Results from a survey completed by tourism businesses in Northumberland further indicate that the county’s tourism industry is doing well.

For the period April to September 2014, 63 per cent of businesses saw their performance increase, compared to the same period last year.

A further 30 per cent said performance had maintained last year’s level.

Meanwhile, more than half said they felt business was now better than pre-recession levels.

On top of this, 23 per cent of businesses have increased the number of people they employ.

This coincides with the upturn in popularity of both the visitnorthumberland.com website and the printed Holiday Guide brochure, prompting an increased print run for 2015.

Northumberland Tourism also ran three national marketing campaigns, in conjunction with VisitEngland and the Regional Growth Fund, and one local campaign, which helped raise the profile of the county as a must-visit destination.

Northumberland has also gained national recognition in multiple industry awards. After winning Silver in the Best UK Holiday Destination category in the British Travel Awards, the word about England’s best kept secret is spreading.

Two accommodation providers in Seahouses also won the accolades of Best B&B (St Cuthbert’s House) and Best Holiday Park (Seafield Caravan Park) in the VisitEngland awards, while Leaplish Waterside Park won Bronze in the Holiday Park category.

With new series’ of Robson Green’s Tales From Northumberland and ITV’s Vera, which was filmed in the county, to air in the next few months, alongside two national marketing campaigns in spring and a local campaign highlighting the quality accommodation on offer in Northumberland, 2015 is set to get off to a fantastic start.

Jude Leitch, general manager of Northumberland Tourism, said: “Northumberland’s tourism industry continues to go from strength to strength and we are confident that the increasing number of people coming to the county, spending more while they are here, will continue through 2015 and beyond. Many of our businesses are reporting higher profits and productivity and this is reflected in the record number of awards achieved by businesses in Northumberland, showing we are amongst the best in the country.”