Visitor expenditure of £55m shows value of tourism to Northumberland town
A Northumberland town attracted nearly half a million visitors last year, new figures reveal.
Economic impact data published by the Berwick Welcome Visitor Project reveals that 478,450 people visited the town in 2019 – up 1.1% on 2018.
Visitor expenditure rose 2.1% to £55.85m with the town welcoming 110,870 overnight visitors and 367,580 day trippers.
Julien Lake, chairman of the Berwick Welcome Visitor Project and chief executive of Berwick Community Trust, said: “Tourism and visitors coming to Berwick will play a critical role in helping to rebuild the town’s economy as we look to emerge and recover from the coronavirus crisis.”
The Welcome Visitor Project was created to help the historic border town build on its tourism potential.
A new brand has been developed to market and promote the town, while 186 Berwick Ambassadors ensure visitors make the most of their visit.
Andy Ashcroft, Welcome Visitor project manager, said: “In late 2018 and 2019 the Welcome Visitor Project began the delivery of a range of marketing and promotional activities to raise the town’s profile to visitors and supported the development of new visitor attractions and itineraries.
"The 2019 visitor season saw a significant improvement in Berwick’s tourism economy with an additional £2.5m being generated and 19 new jobs being created. That means that tourism contributes over £55m to the local economy and supports 685 jobs within the sector.”
Jenna Shields, Welcome Visitor project officer, added: “Tourism is a competitive business. ‘Winning’ visitors to Berwick involves the collective effort of a range of businesses, from accommodation and attraction providers to food and drink outlets.
"Understanding and responding to our current and future visitor markets is essential in maintaining the town’s destination profile and evolving the town’s visitor offer.
"The interpretation and promotion the town’s heritage, environment, arts and culture and food offer will contribute to delivering an ‘authentic’ visitor experience and will help drive the sector’s recovery.”
Mr Lake believes the tourism development work, funded with a £304,000 government grant, has created ‘a momentum of growth for the sector’.
He added: “Recent and planned investment in visitor accommodation and facilities will help to attract new visitors to the town.
"Berwick, as a visitor destination, is in a strong position to respond to the emerging challenges and opportunities in, what will be, a highly competitive marketplace.”