The three-year partnership will focus on driving more visitors to explore the diverse culture and heritage of NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding areas. In year one, the initiative will target visitors from Germany, highlighting the direct flights from Berlin to Newcastle Airport, and profiling the Great Exhibition of the North as a reason to travel in 2018.
The partnership is also working with local destination management organisations, Northumberland Tourism and Visit County Durham, and tourism colleagues at Sunderland City Council, North Tyneside Council, South Tyneside Council and the Tees Valley Combined Authority to develop bookable itineraries showcasing the region's varied tourism product.
VisitBritain commercial director, Carol Dray, said: "We are pleased to be working together to promote the North East to an international audience. Increasing regional connectivity not only makes it easier for visitors to see more of Britain, it boosts economic growth, further cementing tourism as one of the UK’s most valuable export industries."
Newcastle was this week named as the top destination in the world to visit in 2018 by Rough Guide, citing the Great Exhibition of the North as a key reason to make the trip next year. The Exhibition (from June 22 to September 9) will celebrate the North’s cutting-edge technology and inspiring culture that has defined the past and continues to shape the future.
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The free, family-friendly Exhibition brings together performance, visual arts and interactive experiences using the city as its stage, with activity in NewcastleGateshead’s world-class venues and outdoor spaces. Visitors can begin their journey at one of two Exhibition Hubs at the Great North Museum or Gateshead Quays (BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead), connected by three walking trails focusing on arts and culture, design and innovation.
Germany was the UK’s second most valuable market for spend in 2016, with inbound visitors spending £1.5billion, and was the UK’s third most valuable market for volume, with 3.3 million inbound visits last year.
Chief executive at Newcastle International Airport, Nick Jones, said: "We are delighted to team up with VisitBritain and NGI, with the support of other partners, to help promote our fantastic region to overseas markets. A number of air routes that operate from Newcastle Airport have the potential to bring tourists in. By growing inbound numbers we will not only further strengthen the routes themselves, but also boost the North-East economy."
VisitBritain’s forecast shows that overseas visits are expected to reach 39.7 million in 2017, up six per cent on 2016 figures. Spending by overseas visitors is forecast to reach £25.7 billion, up 14 per cent on 2016. Tourism is worth £127billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.