Northumberland’s tourism industry has exceeded its target to expand by six per cent in three years.
Between 2011 and 2014, the value of tourism to the regional economy increased by 8.4 per cent, from £706m to £765m.
The number of visitors to the county last year was 9.3 million, up from 8.8m in 2013 and the highest total recorded since 2009.
That resulted in an extra £17.4m going into the Northumbrian economy.
Jude Leitch, Director of Northumberland Tourism, said: “It is fantastic to see that Northumberland’s tourism industry, which is the county’s second largest employer, has bounced back from the downturn.
“The value of the tourism sector to Northumberland’s economy is growing and we will continue to market, support and encourage investment in tourism to ensure this trend continues.”
Northumberland Tourism undertook three marketing campaigns in 2014 – Dark Skies, Active Spirit and Taste of Northumberland – and they, together with the county winning the silver prize for best destination at the British Travel Awards and the exposure generated by being seen in TV programmes such as Downton Abbey, Vera and Robson Green’s Tales from Northumberland, are credited with boosting the county’s fortunes.
Val Tyler, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: “These are fantastic results and show once again the attraction the county has as a visitor destination.
“The figures are extremely positive, with more than nine million visitors last year bringing more than £765m into Northumberland.
“Tourism remains one of our key economic drivers, and the future is looking bright – demonstrated by our investment in the £12m Sill project and our support of the Tour of Britain, a truly county-wide international event which will showcase everything Northumberland has to offer.”