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£2.25million tourism pilot for North East

newcastlegateshead

The North East is to a pilot a new £2.25m scheme to restructure tourism boards and attract investment.

It follows last year’s independent review into Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), which was carried out by Nick de Bois, Chair of British Tourist Authority.

He found that there were more than 150 DMOs across England, making it difficult for both tourists and also businesses seeking to invest.

As a result, the government is to streamline DMOs by accrediting the top performing ones so they can grow the visitor economy and attract major business, cultural and sporting events.

As part of plans to overhaul the current system, NewcastleGateshead Initiative in the North East has been selected to lead a pilot in partnership with Visit Northumberland and Visit County Durham working across seven local authority areas.

“This pilot is an incredible opportunity to unlock our growth potential in the North East, attracting more visitors, reaching new international markets, creating jobs, growing businesses, attracting investment, and reinforcing local pride in our place,” said Sarah Green, CEO, NewcastleGateshead Initiative.

“As the first Destination Development Partnership, we will work with our partners in Visit County Durham and Visit Northumberland to ensure the tourism sector is supported and grows across all seven local authorities in the region. Our region will act as a blueprint for the rest of England, and we could not be prouder to help shape the future landscape of destination management organisations, working in partnership to deliver local economic growth through the visitor economy.” 

The cash will be used to develop and market the region as a “must-visit destination” whilst also attracting further private investment and driving growth.

Hopes are that the tourism industry will partner with digital clusters to make tourism more accessible. Examples cited include NewcastleGateshead Initiative working with tech company Kerckhoffs to capture an immersive experience of Newcastle’s Quayside Market using Eyemmersive technology.

The video means that visitors can explore the market virtually and prepare children with special educational needs and disabilities before they experience it in real life.

Evidence will be collected throughout the pilot ahead of a possible nationwide roll-out.

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