A WEEKEND of hosting major music events has provided a major boost to the North-East's £4bn tourism industry.

Hotels across the region were fully booked as Take That and the Pet Shop Boys performed in Sunderland and Tinie Tempah, Iggy Pop and Plan B entertained crowds at the Evolution Weekender festival in Newcastle. A report by UK Music, looking into the economic impact of live music events, shows music tourists in the North East spend at least £35m a year, benefiting the regions economy by £8m a year in terms of GVA and sustaining the equivalent of 221 full time jobs.

It forms part of the North-East's wider visitor economy, worth £4bn a year to the region and supporting more than 65,000 jobs.

Jim Mawdsley, director of the Evolution Weekender festival, which took place on Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides, said a further benefit could be repeat visits from festival goers having seen what the North-East has to offer.

He said: "One of the good things about our festival being in the city centre is everyone who comes gets a chance to go and look around Newcastle in the morning before the show starts.

"It is only about half a mile to the shops so it is easy to look around.

"The hotel economy is one of the first areas of local business to benefit as revellers book their accommodation in advance of the event taking place.

"A lot of people were also going out eating on the Quayside."

Mr Mawdsley said local authorities had realised the importance of music festivals for attracting visitors to the region.

"The growth and reputation of our events puts the North-East on the map," he added.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: "Those visitors who come to the destination specifically for an event, particularly those who stay overnight, spend far more on shopping, leisure and dining at an average £122, versus typical day visitors who spend an average £31."

Sunderland also saw increased spending with day visitors spending an average of £25 compared to overnight visitors spending £125.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said the city's hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and taxi firms would benefit by £18m through summer concerts, as each was worth £3.5m to the local economy.

More than 200,000 people were in Sunderland to see the Take That at the Stadium of Light over the four days of concerts, and another 50,000 are expected to see Kings of Leon at the same venue later this month(June).

Mr Watson said: "This is a huge economic boost to Sunderland and a chance to show people from all over the country and the world what we have to offer."

The stadium made its name for hosting events when Take That and Oasis performed in the summer of 2009 and Gary Hutchinson, Sunderland AFCs head of venue and events, said: "The success of the first concerts, helped put Sunderland well and truly on the map as a major venue and a tourism destination."

Liam Boylan, event manager for SJM Concerts, which promotes Take That's tour, said: "The great thing about Sunderland is that they are brilliant at working with us and on our behalf with the other agencies across the city. There's a strong team in place and they all work together."