Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let's Not Treat Our Visitors to a Big Traffic Jam; RACHEL TURNBULL Welcomes the Surge in Visitors to the North East - but Has a Warning as Well

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Let's Not Treat Our Visitors to a Big Traffic Jam; RACHEL TURNBULL Welcomes the Surge in Visitors to the North East - but Has a Warning as Well

Article excerpt

Byline: RACHEL TURNBULL

THE news that there has been a 22% surge in the number of visitors to the North East is welcome, and hardly a surprise.

As someone who moved to the region for work and chose to make it my home, and the place where my husband and I are bringing up our children, I can fully understand the attraction.

From the beauty of Berwick, down through Northumberland and its castles, countryside and attractions such as the Farne Islands, right the way down to the River Tees and the scenic County Durham Dales, there is something for everyone.

Why wouldn't you want to come here? We have everything from museums such as Beamish and Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon, to the excitement of Premier League football, and pop culture from Harry Potter to the Hairy Bikers.

The 66,000 people who visited the region from overseas over three months last summer was the highest since 2008, which indicates that economic factors are at play, and the result was that these tourists spent PS26m here.

You don't need to be an accountant, although I am by trade, to see what tourism brings to the North East.

So, surely, it is worth investing in, and we do so very well, with World Heritage Sites and events like the displaying of the Lindisfarne Gospels and the now biannual Lumiere Festival. It was also great to see the way the region's people got behind the North East's successful bid to win a high-pro-file advertising campaign at Heathrow Airport.

However, for two very good reasons, this increase in tourism highlights the real need for investment in North East transport infrastructure, as well as the individual destinations themselves. First, to encourage these visitors to return, and to get them to tell their friends about the great time they had, we need to make it as easy as possible for them to get around. …

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