Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Official - We're a Top Tourist Draw

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Official - We're a Top Tourist Draw

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter barbara.hodgson@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE NORTH East is pulling in an ever-increasing number of tourists with new figures revealing the region has the second biggest growth in the country.

VisitEngland's news that we are enjoying a higher than the national average boom in visitor numbers has met with delight.

Its newly-released Annual Attractions Survey shows that business is picking up across the country with a "healthy" 4% increase in the total number of visits to regional attractions in 2014. But while all regions are enjoying a rise in visitor numbers, the North East is experiencing "above average" growth of 7%.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative, welcomed the results as "really encouraging". She said top crowdpullers range from Housesteads Roman Fort on the Roman Wall to National Glass Centre in Sunderland as the region gears up for another boost this year from the upcoming Rugby World Club.

Countrywide, it seems that farms are unexpectedly proving a top attraction, while places of worship are the only area not seeing a growth in visitors.

The region is topped only by the East of England, with 10%, while the North West comes in third place with 6%.

The traditional tourist hot-spot of London, whose Tower of London remains the most-visited attraction, has dropped below average.

While the capital has seen an increase in visitor numbers it is below the national average at 2%.

Other surprises reveal people would rather visit a farm than a church, with places of worship the only sector to see no increase at all in 2014.

Farms and heritage centres are proving the fastestgrowing attraction, seeing the most significant increase in visitor numbers, at 10% year on year. As in previous years, certain types of attraction experience more growth than others.

Country parks, gardens, wildlife attractions and zoos as well as historic houses and castles are all seeing a rise in visitors. …

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