New campaign to kickstart North East tourism industry
As the Government’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme starts, a new campaign has been launched to support the North East’s £5bn tourism economy.
The ‘My Kind of Toon’ campaign is targeted at residents in NewcastleGateshead and the wider North East, encouraging them to support the region’s tourism and hospitality businesses.
Destination marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) is behind the campaign which will utilise customer-generated content to raise the profile of tourism businesses and inspire residents to visit new places.
A newly redesigned visitor information website, newcastlegateshead.com, with enhanced personalisation features has also just been launched to help promote the region. Residents and visitors can design their own ‘My Kind of Toon’ with a new itinerary builder allowing them to plan the perfect day out, with attractions, restaurants, bars or hotels that suit their specific needs.
Residents are also being encouraged to look out for the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry scheme which should give them confidence that a business is adhering to the latest Government advice.
Councillor Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council, said: “As more people are choosing not to travel abroad or far afield this year, we’re encouraging locals to make the most of the North East. Our local businesses are getting used to a new way of operating and now, more than ever, need the support of the local community.
“North East residents have so much to enjoy right here on our doorsteps, from the iconic Angel of the North and Sage Gateshead through to every single one of our amazing hospitality businesses, the region has something to offer everyone.”
Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture said: “Newcastle City Centre is packed with vibrant local traders, internationally renowned shops and a smorgasbord of tasty restaurants, cafes and street food vendors.
“At the heart of our city centre is the historic, 200 year old Grainger Market, which was recently voted Britain’s Favourite Market. The market is an Aladdin’s cave of unique shops, international delicacies and Geordie flavours with over 100 stalls and traders packing the indoor streets.
“The market is being refurbished to ensure it is modern and functional whilst still retaining its character and charm. A stroll amongst the vibrant bazaars will see you sampling stone baked pizza one minute, buying rare vinyl the next and picking up local fresh fruit and vegetables before grabbing a well-earned cup of tea.
“Every Sunday our Quayside market sets up along the banks of the River Tyne, with 60 stalls offering everything from handbags to candles, jeans to cupcakes. There are also a host of local street food vendors on hand to satisfy your taste buds.
“Both markets have worked hard to ensure they are safe and Covid secure for visitors and we are constantly working with the traders to make further changes that will reinforce safe trading conditions.”
Many hospitality and tourism businesses opened their doors for the first time in months on 4 July but with reduced capacities due to guidelines in place, the industry is far from back to normal.
As well as the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme, in recent weeks the Government has announced a temporary VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sector and a support package for the cultural sector. NGI is encouraging residents to take advantage of the new measures and support local businesses.
Ian Thomas, Director of Leisure Tourism and Research at NGI, added: “It’s great news that our calls for support for the tourism sector were listened to and that many tourism businesses are now reopening, but there are still challenging times ahead for the industry. We need the support of our residents to ensure that the tourism industry is in a strong position as domestic, and eventually international, visitors return.
“We’re encouraging residents to become advocates of our amazing local businesses – share their reviews, images and videos online and offer reassurance that everyone will enjoy a safe visitor experience. We’re excited to launch our newly redesigned visitor information website, newcastlegateshead.com, which has up to date safety information and guidelines, as well as brand new personalisation tools to make it easier for people to explore their ‘Kind of Toon’.”