The sky is the limit for business growth

Kielder Observatory.
Kielder Observatory.

With the nights drawing in, tourism businesses are being urged to act now to take advantage of the North East’s pristine starry skies.

Astro-tourism is a rapidly expanding sector for local accommodation providers, many of whom have reported increasing numbers of visitors flocking to the region to enjoy stargazing breaks.

Last year, the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park – Europe’s largest, stretching for nearly 580 square miles (15000 square kilometres) between the Border and Hadrian’s Wall – was created.

Over the coming months, a series of Stars for Profit training workshops will take place to help businesses take advantage of the stargazing surge. It comes on the back of a successful set of classes before the summer.

The sessions are part of the ground-breaking Animating Dark Skies Partnership, funded by Defra through the Northern Lands programme, to help develop the stargazing tourism sector.

The workshops taking place in north Northumberland are at Kielder Castle, (October 21), Elsdon (October 27) and Harbottle (November 10).

Participants will get tips on making their businesses more dark sky-friendly and marketing stargazing opportunities.

They will learn how others are tapping into the astro-tourism market and get practical advice on buying equipment and be shown how to use telescopes and binoculars and, weather permitting, be able to view stars, galaxies and planets.

Businesses will receive on-going support by subscribing to the Stars for Profit resource website and be able to download monthly stargazing podcasts for guests to use on their phones.

To book, visit www.north and click on dark skies.

Or, call Richard Darn on 0775 3670038, or email rich