Exhibition offers chance to tap into the tourist trade

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BUSINESSES which tap into the tourist trade – or are looking to – are being invited to exhibit their services at the popular North Tourism Fair, which is being staged in Alnwick this March.

Alnwick Chamber of Trade (Act), in partnership with Local Living, is for the first time hosting the annual North Tourism Fair at the Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, while the Morpeth Herald, together with sister paper the Northumberland Gazette, has become the official media partner.

Previously hosted by Northumberland County Council, it regularly attracts more than 1,000 visitors and last year’s event attracted 174 exhibitors from across the county.

“When we were approached by Local Living with a plan to organise the event, we were delighted to agree to host this year’s Tourism Fair,” said Carlo Biagioni, chairman of Act. “Hospitality and tourism is a vital part of the economy for north Northumberland.

“We can be rightly proud of our beautiful natural surroundings, the many attractions we boast and the welcome we extend to visitors – 2012 will be an especially important year for us, with the visit of the Olympic Torch Relay.”

Herald and Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “This is a big day for the tourist industry in Northumberland and we are delighted to be able to promote it. We hope that it kick-starts yet another successful season for the county. All we need now is some decent weather.”

Local Living, operators of Alnwick Markets, will be handling the bookings and event administration.

“The North Tourism Fair has a deserved reputation as the best attended and most effective of the regional tourism fairs,” said event manager Philip Angier. “It’s an excellent opportunity to network with managers of other visitor attractions from around the region and with providers of support services to the tourism industry.”

Northumberland County Council has agreed to provide financial support and take exhibition space on the day.

Coun Neil Bradbury, executive member for tourism, said: “The tourism industry is a major contributor to the local economy in north Northumberland. This networking event will enable all those involved in the industry to come together under one roof, strengthening local partnership working and helping to create new opportunities for local businesses.

“In the current economic climate it is essential we try to keep new business opportunities within the county.”

Hospitality providers from across the north of the region will be welcome to attend the event which will take place from 10am to 2.30pm on March 27.

For the past two years, exhibitor space has been fully booked, so would-be exhibitors are strongly advised to register without delay. The 2012 event has introduced a modest exhibitor fee of £20 per table to cover staff costs, event insurance and other overheads.

Invitation letters are being sent out this week.

Members of the public are also welcome to drop in to collect details of the attractions in store in 2012 and refreshments will be available throughout the day.

To obtain a registration form or for further information contact Philip Angier (philip@northtourismfair.co.uk – telephone 07894402766) or visit the event website – www.northtourismfair.co.uk