A consortium of destination management organisations has joined forces to launch a campaign promoting tourism in NewcastleGateshead, North Tyneside and Northumberland following the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact on the sector.
The ‘Save Your Summer’ campaign, which launched over the bank holiday weekend, has been developed in partnership between NewcastleGateshead Initiative, North Tyneside Council, Northumberland Tourism and North of Tyne Combined Authority, and aims to inspire people to explore destinations closer to home for a mini-break at the end of the summer season.
The campaign has now been backed by UK Government as part of its Enjoy Summer Safely campaign, to support an extensive digital, print and outdoor advertising campaign, focused on regions within a two-hour drive from the North East. ‘Save Your Summer’ will be part of the government’s wider national campaign to encourage people to protect themselves against coronavirus while holidaying in the UK.
The fund will give a huge boost to the region’s tourism industry which has been dramatically affected by the pandemic – forecasts suggest that the sector will see its economic impact cut by as much as 50% in the region in 2020, with the potential loss of 10,000 jobs in NewcastleGateshead alone.
The campaign’s striking creative, devised by Newcastle agency Drummond Central, highlights the unique range of experiences on offer in our region – including sports and activities, heritage attractions, walking tours, restaurants and accommodation.
Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, said: “We are delighted that our summer staycation campaign has received government backing, and also to see the tourism work NewcastleGateshead Initiative does, on behalf of Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council, being strengthened by this partnership with North Tyneside and Northumberland. The campaign is a welcome boost to our collective efforts towards reviving the tourism sector here in the North East – it has been so badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“While consumer confidence in travel abroad is at an all-time low, it makes sense that people will want to explore places closer to home more than ever. A recent survey suggested that around a third of people would feel confident in taking a UK break in September, and we hope that by inviting these visitors to ‘save their summer’ with a safe and sustainable trip to North East England, we can salvage the summer holiday experience for so many.”
North of Tyne Combined Authority cabinet member for place and productivity and leader of Northumberland County Council Councillor Peter Jackson, said: “I think sometimes we take for granted what we have here on our doorstep, when in fact we should be incredibly proud.
“We’re renowned for our history, culture, industry, ingenuity and innovation, also for our beautiful countryside and coast. This is a unique and special place.
“We can save our summer by holidaying closer to home. Support in the coming month for our local businesses, towns, villages, and city will help us bounce back strongly from COVID-19, which is our top priority.”
Cris Brown, operations manager at Northumberland Tourism, said: “By joining forces as a North of Tyne region, we feel we have created the most enticing offer for visitors. From culture, history and urban experiences to coast, castles and countryside, we have it covered between the relatively small geographical area of NewcastleGateshead, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
“The government backing of our campaign has allowed us to reach more potential visitors than ever, raising awareness of our destination that has so much to offer and is often overlooked.”
Councillor Sarah Day, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at North Tyneside Council, said: “The fantastic thing about our region being relatively compact is that visitors can explore so much, even in a short visit. From stand-up paddle boarding at Cullercoats in the morning, to indulging in history at Alnwick Castle in the afternoon followed by dinner in one of NewcastleGateshead’s latest foodie hotspots in the evening, it’s quite a unique feature of the North East that it’s all on offer here.
“The striking creative of the campaign is designed to inspire people to look closer to home and encourage those who may not have necessarily thought of our region as a holiday destination to come along and uncover its hidden gems. People who do visit our region have an excellent experience, with VisitBritain data suggesting that the satisfaction of those who do visit this part of England outstrips both Cornwall and the Lake District and soars above the national average.”
Director of VisitEngland, Andrew Stokes, said: “Millions of jobs and local economies depend on tourism right across the country and the industry needs all of us to make sure it gets back on its feet. This funding will encourage more of us to get out and discover the outstanding destinations and quality attractions close to home, right here on our doorstep. It will also support local businesses who have been working so hard to welcome visitors back safely, adapting and innovating to meet new ways of working and still providing a great visitor experience.”