Prime Minister David Cameron has described Northumberland as a jewel in Great Britain’s crown.
Mr Cameron has been praising the county as part of English Tourism Week, which started last Saturday and runs until this Sunday.
The Prime Minister, who visited Alnwick last year in the run-up to the 2015 General Election, said: "I love Northumberland. From Hadrian's Wall to Europe's biggest sky park, this county is one of the many jewels in Great Britain’s crown. It’s no wonder it attracts over nine million day visits every year."
But he added: "Let me give you one shocking fact: for all the money that is spent by international tourists in our country, half is spent in London. That means there are millions of visitors who come to Britain and never leave the M25; thousands who never get to experience places like Alnwick Castle or Holy Island."
The Prime Minister said that tourism created jobs, including 13,000 in Northumberland, so it was important that the benefits were spread evenly across the country. He said that improvements to roads and to rail services would make it easier to attract tourists to regions outside London, and highlighted a marketing campaign to promote the UK's attractions across the world.
Mr Cameron added: "£400,000 is being invested in the Hadrian's Wall connect project, which will provide better transport links and tourism businesses right along the corridor of Hadrian's Wall. This will improve the experience for visitors, enabling them to move around easier and explore the fascinating historical sites in greater depth. There has also been money invested in to Blyth Harbour to create a new training and leisure facility that benefits the local community by offering training as well as attracting tourists."
One of the things that helps to promote the beauty and diversity of the county is Robson Green's Tales from Northumberland programme. The eight-part third series started last month and, just like the previous two series, it is proving popular with viewers. The first episode was watched by three million people, while the second, which was aired earlier this week, pulled in 3.3million viewers. In the upcoming third episode, to be screened on Monday, Robson sails aboard a tall ship and visits Red Row blacksmith Stephen Lunn.
Earlier today, the Gazette announced that the Northumberland locations of Rothbury and Low Newton-by-the-Sea have been described as two of the best places to live in Great Britain, according to The Sunday Times.
English Tourism Week is a week-long celebration of events showcasing the quality and vibrancy of the visitor experiences and the value our industry brings to the nation.