Viking invasion invited

A BID is under way to encourage another ‘Viking invasion’ of Northumberland to boost the county’s tourism industry.

Northumberland County Council hopes the area will become the most visited county in the country, contributing millions of pounds to the local economy.

And it is anticipated that a key part of growth will come from Scandinavian and Baltic visitors, building on existing DFDS sailing links to Newcastle.

The tourist trade is already estimated to be worth more than £700million a year to the Northumberland economy and the council plans to increase trade by at least 15 per cent in the next five years.

The project will include ‘re-branding’ the county and working with partners in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Iceland and the Scottish Borders to promote visitor opportunities.

Local towns and visitor attractions will be involved in the plans and the council aims to develop and market a Northumberland Tourism Strategy in time for next year’s holidaymakers.

Council Leader Grant Davey said: “We’re keen to make sure that we can make Northumberland as attractive as possible for visitors and residents alike, and we want to encourage visitors from our traditional neighbours in Scandinavia, who visit Tyneside in increasing numbers, to look further north into our beautiful county.

“We’ve got very strong cultural links with Scandinavia and the Baltic States and we’re going to work flat out to make sure these visitors get a chance to sample the delights of Northumberland.”

It is estimated that 2,000 jobs rely on the Northumberland tourist trade.