Overseas visitors flock to the region

TOURISM SURGE: Harry Potter links with locations such as Alnwick Castle are among the draws for overseas visitors.

HISTORIC ATTRACTION: York

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

THE holiday business is booming in North Yorkshire and the North-East with overseas visitors flocking to the area and their numbers soaring.

Summer holiday visits to the North-East by overseas tourists are growing at a faster rate than those to Scotland, Wales and the North West, VisitBritain research has revealed.

The North-East welcomed 66,000 holiday visits during the months of July, August and September last summer - an uplift of 22 per cent and the highest amount since the 2008 record of 78,000 visits – and they spent some £26m.

And in Yorkshire there were 168,000 holiday visits during the same period - an increase of 37.7 per cent and a record high for the region during the period.

Those Yorkshire visitors spent a total of £68m- again a new summer record and an increase of 13 per cent compared to 2012.

The figures are only for those foreign visitors who travelled purely for a holiday and in the North-East the big attractions for them included sport, live music and Harry Potter film locations, such as Alnwick Castle.

In Yorkshire the biggest attraction was the city of York itself but the region’s heritage and its countryside were also big draws.

VistBritain’s director of strategy and communications, Patricia Yates, said: “These numbers demonstrate the North-East’s and Yorkshire’s growing appeal to international visitors and inbound tourism’s economic delivery to the region.”

She added: “We work closely with regional tourist boards to encourage visitors to explore different parts of the country and enjoy the range of experiences and activities on offer.”

The chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Gary Verity, welcomed the figures - and predicted a big jump in the future.

"Yorkshire's profile has never been so high. We are riding a wave of worldwide acclaim and we fully expect an influx of international and domestic visitors to flock to Yorkshire this year and for many years to come as the legacy of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France is felt,” he said.

“Yorkshire is very much on the must visit list for many people around the world now and we cannot wait to welcome them."

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