A different take on making Durham a tourist destination of choice has been launched by providers of visitor attractions in the county.

Durham’s unique and diverse experiences, its world-class attractions and varied accommodation were the inspiration behind the new drive aimed at boosting the county’s visitor economy.

Do Durham Differently is the latest national destination marketing campaign devised by Visit County Durham, with the specific aim of encouraging visitors to extend their stay, rather than just day-tripping.

It encourages visitors to take a fresh look at what is on offer in the county, explore more and try out new activities.

The Northern Echo: From left, Michelle Gorman, of Visit County Durham, Pam Porter, of Locomotion, Edward Perry, of The

Visit County Durham, Durham County Council’s tourism service, has teamed up with partners across the visitor economy in support of the campaign to help showcase the variety that exists in the county.

It includes attractions such as Locomotion, Raby Estates, The Auckland Project and Beamish, The Living Museum of the North.

The offer features everything from cycling and stargazing to fascinating museums and a range of food and drink.

Do Durham Differently plans to share the message with millions of potential visitors through targeted marketing activity, including editorials with national media, commissions to “influencers” and digital advertising.

Research is said to have revealed Visit County Durham’s previous national destination marketing campaign, Memorable Moments, generated millions of pounds in visitor spend and reached an estimated 2.25 million people, or more.

The campaign also follows the publication of national industry research, which showed tourism contributed more than £1 billion to Durham’s economy for the first time ever in 2022. 

Do Durham Differently will encourage people to spend longer in the county and explore a wider area.

It will run from now until spring 2024, with the aim of extending the tourist season by attracting visitors outside of the peak summer period.

Duncan Peake, the interim chair of Visit County Durham and chief executive of Raby Estates, said: “Following the success of Memorable Moments and the recent visitor economy figures, we are keen to keep the momentum going and attract even more people to the county.

“By teaming up with partners across the sector for the Do Durham Differently campaign, Visit County Durham can deliver additional, high-profile marketing activity that shines a light on just how much there is to do in Durham.

“Whether that be an invigorating walk along the Durham Heritage Coast followed by afternoon tea at a luxury hotel, or marvelling at treasures at a museum or gallery followed by a night under the stars in a cosy glamping pod.

“Add award-winning attractions, heritage sites and fantastic places to eat and drink to the itinerary and you really are spoilt for choice.”

Councillor Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “Encouraging visitors to stay longer is crucial to supporting tourism businesses and delivering sustainable economic growth.

“People who stay overnight spend on average 89 per cent more than day visitors per trip.

“In fact, they were responsible for almost half of the £1bn generated in 2022, despite only making up nine-per cent of the total number of visitors.

“Do Durham Differently will support our efforts to increase overnight stays by providing a wealth of staycation inspiration to suit all ages, tastes and budgets.

“And, by promoting Durham as an inclusive year-round destination, it will also help to extend the visitor season, providing a further boost to businesses.”

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Other campaign partners include Durham Cathedral, Ushaw Historic House, Chapels and Gardens, The Bowes Museum, Seaham Hall Hotel, Headlam Hall Hotel, The Rose & Crown at Romaldkirk, Hotel Indigo and Radisson Blu, in Durham.

As part of the campaign, Visit County Durham has created a dedicated section on its consumer website featuring content to help people plan their trip to the county.

This can be found by visiting thisisdurham.com/differently to find out more.