Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Hoping for a New Viking Invasion!

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Hoping for a New Viking Invasion!

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Local Government Reporter

SCANDINAVIAN shoppers could hit Tyneside's high streets again after a PS300,000 pledge to entice tourists from across the North Sea.

Bargain hunters from the Faroe Islands, Norway and Sweden were once a familiar sight in the North East, attracted by our cheaper prices for clothes, food and gifts.

But the recession and the scrapped Bergen to Newcastle ferry route caused their numbers to fall.

The lull could soon be over as George Osborne handed the North East a PS300,000 budget hand out to market itself to visitors in Scandinavia.

And tourist board chief in Bergen Ole Warberg thinks the shoppers could return.

"It was very popular to go to England because of the prices because it's cheaper to buy things than in Norway.

"There were so many shopping cruises but people were also going across to stay in bed and breakfasts and go hiking. That was always the main attraction for Norwegians.

"People in Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm they also have a lot of money to spend in the North East. Access it the main problem at the moment though."

It is hoped the money given to the Newcaste-Gateshead Initiative to spend on marketing the North East to Scandinavian tourist will help revitalise disussions for a longed for ferry route between Newcastle and Norway.

The Liberal Democrats are claiming the cash injection as a political victory as they say they kept the issue of re-establishing cross-North Sea links on the agenda and the Government has listened. Sarah Stewart, chief executive of the NewCASTLEGATESHEAD Initiative, said: "We are delighted that national funding has been earmarked to support measures to encourage tourism from Scandinavia to the North East. The region has long enjoyed trade, tourism and cultural connections with the Scandinavian nations and this money will help to encourage stronger links going forward. Most recent estimates indicate a ferry route could deliver signifi-cant numbers of passengers a year and provide a major economic boost for the region, as a result of both improved trade links and inbound tourism. …

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