A new report commissioned by the Northumberland National Park Authority shows that tourism is thriving.
The figures for 2015 show that visitors are spending more and staying longer, contributing £76.44million to the rural economy and supporting 1,128 jobs in the Park.
This performance excels the target set by the Authority to grow tourism revenue from visitors to £75.8million in 2015.
Coun Glen Sanderson, the Authority’s chairman, said: “We very much want visitors to first and foremost enjoy, it but also to make a positive contribution to the economy of the area.
“The economic target set for the year was to increase the value of tourism from visitors to £75.8million and we are delighted to have surpassed it so substantially.
“This is great news for us and the wider region.
“Growth in tourism is a key means by which the North East can close the economic performance gap with the rest of the UK. The report shows that during the last five years, Northumberland National Park’s tourism economy has grown faster in relative terms than the UK economy.
“We are looking forward to building on this success with the launch of The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre next year.
“The Sill is a perfect vehicle for us to work with our partners locally and across the wider region to capitalise on growing tourism opportunities.”
The Sill is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors per year and is set to deliver substantial economic benefits within the Park and beyond by contributing an estimated £2.5 million per annum to the North-East economy.
Chief executive Tony Gates added: “We want the National Park to be a sustainable cultural and economic asset that benefits the region for many years to come. The Sill is set to become a superb asset in attracting even more visitors to the county each year, as well as enabling local enterprise to thrive and creating dozens of jobs.”
The National Park tourism study is an annual report used by National Parks across the country to quantify the local economic impact of tourism from both staying and day visitors. It analyses a variety of factors including visitor attraction numbers, tourist accommodation, events attendance and occupancy levels throughout the year.
The Northumberland report shows that the Park currently attracts 1.76 million visitors to the area per year, of which 1.41 million are day visitors and 350,000 stay overnight.