Press release

Northern destinations join forces to woo international tourists

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Deputy Prime Minister and Culture Secretary announce £10 million fund to help the North showcase itself as a top tourist destination

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Northern destinations will receive £10 million of Government funding to boost tourism and attract international visitors from across the world, including the USA and China, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced today (Friday).

The funding will go towards a ground-breaking new initiative that will see tourism bodies, such as ‘Cumbria Tourism’ and ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’, amongst others, work together to sell what’s unique about the North under one umbrella.

The North has seen fantastic growth from overseas visitors in recent years, but there is more to do.

The move is expected to pump £177 million into the region’s economy, creating over 3,200 jobs and resulting in two million more nights spent in local hotels and B&Bs.

This initiative will leverage the strength of the Government’s GREAT brand in transforming the North into a top global tourist destination.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said:

“I’m immensely proud of the stunning countryside, history and culture that the north has to offer, and yet all too often international visitors flock to London rather than our northern beauty spots and cities.

“As the most senior member of Government from the North, I invited local people to get involved with my Northern Futures initiative to strengthen the economy and ensure the north is on the map as a top tourist destination.

“This funding will help bring together existing work being done to boost tourism right across the north, showcasing major events such as the Tour de Yorkshire whilst creating a single vision for showing off the jewels of the north for all to see.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:

“As part of our long-term economic plan to build the Northern Powerhouse, today the government is committing money to a northern tourism fund. From outstanding areas of natural beauty to some of our great cultural centres so near to one another, the potential for attracting more tourism and jobs to the North of England is huge.

“This fund will see the tourism bodies for the north working together to create a coherent plan that identifies the region’s strengths into a collective offer for the world to see. This is the essence of our plan for a Northern Powerhouse, connecting its strengths so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:

“Visitors to Britain want to see world-class heritage, culture and stunning landscapes, and the North of England has these in abundance. Our record tourism boom is already building the Northern Powerhouse, delivering jobs and growth as part of our long-term economic plan.

“By helping destinations work closely together to attract tourists we will ensure everywhere from Leeds to the Lake District benefits. This, in turn, will set an example across the country, showing what can be achieved when we work collaboratively.”

UK tourism has boomed since 2012 with record growth in 2013 and 2014. Overseas tourists spent a mammoth £21.7 billion in 2014 and that number is expected to continue to rise with 2015 eclipsing 2014 by passing the £22bn mark for the first time.

The government wants to ensure that regions across the country benefit from this tourism boom. This tourism fund for the North is a new approach to achieving this as part of the Government’s long term economic plan.

One part of the campaign will be to bring influential travel journalists to experience the best of the region’s festivals, cultural and sporting attractions. These will include the Manchester International Festival this July and the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in May.

The destinations are also working together to make it easier for potential visitors looking online to see the full range of Northern attractions on offer.

As well as this £10 million fund, the government has recently announced a number of initiatives to help areas bolster their tourism offer.

These include the £2million GREAT UK challenge fund and the £3million investment into Visit Britain’s Countryside is GREAT campaign, which promotes rural tourism.

VisitBritain will also be set challenging targets by Ministers to get more visitors exploring the whole of the UK. This move, which follows a Government review of how both bodies will function in the future, will encourage more visitors to explore beyond London.

VisitEngland will be tasked with working with destinations and organisations across the country to develop standout experiences that will appeal to tourists from overseas.

Notes for Editors:

  1. The initial target markets for this initiative are the USA, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
  2. The North for this purpose is defined as the old Government Office regions of Yorkshire and Humberside, North West and North East.
  3. A regional breakdown of international visitor spending can be found on Visit Britain’s website
Published 27 March 2015