A CAMPAIGN to promote an ‘unprecedented programme of events’ has been launched in the region.

Details of County Durham’s Year of Culture were revealed at Durham Town Hall yesterday afternoon.

Dignitaries and representatives of the region’s tourism industry heard how #Durham19 campaign, by Visit County Durham, will use 2019 to attract overnight visitors, increase day visits and event footfall, and engage with local communities.

This year there are several festivals, anniversaries and openings taking place across the county.

Events with an international profile, including the Cricket World Cup in Summer and Lumiere Durham, the UK’s largest light festival in November will put the county on the world stage.

Multi-million pound developments at Beamish Museum, Durham Cathedral and The Auckland Project, with Auckland Castle set to reopen later this year, are set to make 2019 an unforgettable year.

There is also a diverse annual programme, which covers sport, culture, arts and heritage, with festivals that attract staying visitors, to events with their roots at the heart of local communities.

Michelle Gorman, managing director at Visit County Durham, said: “2019 is a spectacular year for Durham and #Durham19 celebrates the impact of the growth and investment we’ve seen in the county’s cultural, sporting and heritage offer over recent years. Tourism aims to be worth £1bn to the local economy by the end of 2020 and the campaign is set to help achieve this ambitious target by raising the profile of the county as a cultural destination, boosting the visitor economy by providing reasons to visit, extending length of stay and addressing seasonality.”

Businesses and cultural organisations across the county are now being urged to get involved in the Year of Culture.

Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, which is working alongside Visit County Durham on the campaign said: “It will be fantastic year of events across County Durham and we are really excited about putting this programme together.

“Clearly, visitors bring spending and an economic boost to the local area and we know from previous events that leads to a multi-million boost to the local economy.

“We are confident that will be the case with all of the events that are happening this year.”