VISITORS to the Tall Ships Races generated £26.5m for the economy in a North-East town, a report has revealed.

The average spend per person was about £30 during the five-day spectacular in Hartlepool in August.

Independent research was undertaken from almost 1,200 visitors, local businesses, traders and exhibitors, key organisations involved in the event and crew members.

The report, which will be discussed by Hartlepool Borough Councils Cabinet on Monday, states: "The hosting of The Tall Ships Races - Hartlepool 2010 should be regarded as a success.

"Planning and delivering an event of this size and scale was a first, both for Hartlepool and the organisations involved."

Hartlepool was the only UK host port for the Tall Ships Races 2010, with the vessels arriving from Kristiansand in Norway following the second and final race.

It attracted about 970,000 visitors over the five days.

The report added: "It should also be recognised that the economic climate in the period between winning the bid (2006) and hosting the event are completely different.

"Achieving these results in the current economic climate is a considerable achievement.

"The event has generated awareness and publicity for Hartlepool that will reap benefits in the future."

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond said: "The whole idea of hosting The Tall Ships Races 2010 was to put Hartlepool firmly on the national and international map, build civic pride, attract people to the town and leave a lasting legacy.

"As a town we have to have ambition and be bold. The event attracted almost one million visitors to Hartlepool from around the globe and this report shows that three quarters will be visiting the town again in the future."