£2.25 million boost for the region’s tourism industry as North East announced as the first ever Destination Development Partnership in England.
The North East has been chosen for the first regional tourism pilot receiving £2.25 million from national government covering a period to March 2025. The partnership will be led by NGI on behalf of the region, working alongside Visit Northumberland and Visit County Durham. The aim is to develop the region as a must-visit destination whilst attracting private investment and driving growth.
This is a regional collaboration and incredible opportunity to unlock our growth and the untapped potential in the North East of England, attracting more visitors, creating new experiences, targeting new markets as well as creating jobs and opportunity.
The region will act as a potential blueprint for the rest of England, and we will help shape the future landscape of destination management organisations, delivering local economic growth through the visitor economy across all seven local authorities.
This pilot is an outcome of the UK Government’s response to the independent review of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) by Nick de Bois.
What is the geography of the proposed partnership?
The geography mirrors the LA7 North East LEP area and includes the local authorities in the North of Tyne Combined Authority (Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle) and those in the North East Combined Authority area (Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Durham). This geography was chosen as evidence suggests that this is a natural geography for a tourist. The chosen area has the diversity of city, coast, countryside, villages and towns that would enable a successful pilot. Finally, it reflects an established institutional and political geography enabling the partnership to work more effectively with other economic development institutions.
What does the pilot mean for the region?
The region will be the first ever Destination Development Partnership, benefitting from an additional £2.25m to develop the visitor economy eco-system. It provides the opportunity to raise the profile of the visitor economy which is the fourth biggest employer in the region. This provides additional support for existing businesses in a particularly challenging economic period and will create a business case for further investment in the sector regionally.
NGI has been asked by DCMS to lead the pilot and will be the accountable body with support from Visit Northumberland and Visit County Durham. This funding is additional to existing tourism marketing funding and cannot be used to displace existing activity. Marketing will continue to be funded locally by local authorities and industry. The three DMOs in the region will continue to promote and market their unique brands but, it is hoped in time, that a co-ordinating narrative will maximise the potential to cross-refer visitors with the aim of increasing overall spend and stay time in the region.
This funding will develop the regional tourism eco-system including:
- Skills co-ordination
- Sectoral business support
- Accessibility best practice
- Sustainability support
- Business events development; and
- Product development
As the chosen Destination Development Partnership pilot, we will focus on activities that ensure our destination remains sustainable, competitive, and responsive to challenges such as boosting skills, accessibility, sustainability and levelling up.
What does this mean for tourism businesses?
This regional programme of activity will aim to support existing and new tourism businesses across the whole geography of the North East to grow their customer base; to innovate, attracting new and different audiences; and to be more productive, making them more profitable and resilient. Through the skills programme, we aim to attract young people to hospitality and tourism vacancies, reskill workers to enable them to transfer into the sector, develop full time jobs with clear career paths and ensure that people are paid a good wage for a skilled role. We will also develop our inward investment proposition for hotels and leisure attractions, bringing new businesses to the region and creating more jobs.