North East scoops £1million prize

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

The North East has scooped £1million worth of advertising at Heathrow Airport after beating the rest of the country in a nail-biting contest.

The competition was neck-and-neck between the North East and Northern Ireland until the final moments when the North East pushed ahead with the support from almost 20,000 voters.

Around 13 million passengers a year use Heathrow as their gateway to Britain’s regions, and thanks to the everyone who supported the North East, visitors will now be met with an advertising campaign aimed to inspire them to visit our region.

Northumberland County Councillor Val Tyler, policy board member for community and infrastructure said “This is fantastic news for the regions and I’d like to say a big thank-you to everyone who backed the North East in this competition. It was a great team effort by all everyone who tweeted and shared Facebook posts, thank you.

“The advertising campaign will bring a great boost to our area, encouraging even more tourists to come here and spend in our economy.”

Jeff Sutheran, chairman of the north Northumberland tourism association, said: “It was very exciting to see both the tourism industry and the residents of this region come together, and rise to the challenge which this interesting competition presented.

“The leader-board changed to and fro, and in the final few hours yesterday the social media channels were buzzing with activity to get fans of the North-East to make a final push. I couldn’t wait to check the result when I woke up this morning, and was thrilled to see we’d pipped Northern Ireland at the post!

“To get such high-profile exposure for the North East region as a whole is just fantastic, a wonderful opportunity.

“We know that the great majority of international travellers think they’ve ‘done’ England with a visit to London or the hotspots like Bath, or the Cotswolds. But once they’re stopped in their tracks by some of the fabulous imagery and stories which this campaign can present to them, I’m quite sure there will be many who will be taking the ‘road less travelled’ and enjoying some genuine northern hospitality.”

David Laws, chief executive at Newcastle International Airport, said: “Newcastle International is delighted to have played a part in securing this major £1m advertising campaign at Heathrow Airport on behalf of the North East. The way in which the region once again came together to achieve an objective proves what we are capable of if we have a common goal. Our whole is much greater than the sum of our parts. Numerous organisations and individuals played their part.

“Can I thank everyone that supported the campaign. Such a close result, with an epic race to the finish line, really shows that every single vote counted! I also want to thank Heathrow Airport and VisitBritain for providing us with this opportunity. Heathrow Airport is a critically important hub for the region, with BA carrying close to half a million passengers a year, making it our biggest single airline service.”

North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “The fact that we gained 10,000 votes on the final day, bridging a significant gap to win in the final minute of the competition was hugely dramatic and is another example of how the North East mobilises for the greater good and how proud we are of our magnificent region. The efforts of people and businesses across social media over the last two weeks have been absolutely amazing.

“Securing £1million of free marketing at one of the world’s largest airports can provide a significant boost to the North East visitor economy and provide us with the opportunity to showcase the North East and all its many attractions to people from across the globe.”

Joss Croft, marketing director at VisitBritain said: “Every vote really did count in this competition as the decision went right to the wire with over 40,000 votes registered in just a few weeks. I was delighted to see such collective campaigning across the winning region with tweets from Newcastle United FC, Sunderland AFC, local airports and the North East’s tourism industry all urging locals to get behind their area. It clearly worked, and now the beauty of the North East will be seen by millions of overseas visitors each day as part of VisitBritain’s GREAT campaign.”

The competition was organised by Heathrow airport, with the winning region being determined by how many ‘likes’ their photo received in an online poll, and more than 40,000 people voted.

The North East was represented by a photo of Hadrian’s Wall which attracted votes as well as plenty of supportive comments and photos shared from the region.