A CAMPAIGN using people from the region to highlight the area as a tourist attraction was voted the best in the world last night.

Regional development agency One NorthEast's Passionate People, Passionate Places marketing campaign saw off competition from Spain, the US, France and Germany at the World Travel Awards, in London.

The strategy, which features people who actively contribute to the life of the region as well as North-East landmarks, was named as the world's leading regional marketing campaign.

It was launched in May by One NorthEast and features people and key areas of history and heritage, coast and countryside, city culture and innovative business.

Stacy Hall, director of communications at One NorthEast, said last night: "Places that have been nominated, like Catalunya, in Spain, and Miami, in Florida, have been doing marketing campaigns for years and our campaign has only been in the market place since May.

"It is tremendous and the region will get a whole lot more exposure through this award."

North-East campaign advertisements are being featured in the national Press, as well as at Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle airports, on the London Underground and in taxis in the capital and the region.

Delegates from One NorthEast travelled to the Royal Opera House to receive the award last night.

The World Travel awards were established in 1993 and are recognised as the best endorsement any travel-related product can receive.

Graham Cooke, president of the World Travel Group, said: "The strong imagery and clear message really captured the spirit of the North-East, and in turn, the vote of the judges.

"The award is well deserved and I hope that it contributes to raising the profile of North-East England in the UK and around the world."

The awards are voted for by travel professionals worldwide.