FERRY firm DFDS Seaways is contributing to a £100m bid to attract more tourists to Britain.
The cash from the Danish cruise ferry operator’s North Shields-based UK operation is part of a four-year marketing fund set up by the government to boost tourism nationwide.
The north east is expected to claim a sizeable chunk of the 50,000 jobs, million extra visitors and £2bn increase in spending by holidaymakers across the UK that the VisitBritain initiative is expected to generate.
John Crummie, UK managing director of DFDS Seaways, travelled down to London to help Prime Minister David Cameron launch the initiative.
He said: “As a major player in bringing tourists to Britain on our Amsterdam to North Shields route, we are confident that the partnership will increase the level of tourism throughout the north east, bringing valuable investment and jobs to the region.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with VisitBritain and pleased to support such an important initiative, which will undoubtedly bring benefits to the local economy.”
The fund was set up in response to the government’s challenge to exploit the forthcoming royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, Queen’s diamond jubilee and the London Olympics to boost tourism.
DFDS Seaways has pledged a mix of financial support and payment in kind along with four other travel companies to help match the £50m of public money already committed by national tourism agency VisitBritain.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “British companies have dug deep to back us in promoting this idea, and I hope that others will pitch in too – to become part of the global launch to market Britain as quite literally the greatest show on earth.”
Mr Cameron added: “This year and next will see the eyes of the world focused on Britain as never before.
“This offers us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not just for national pride and celebration, but also to promote this country as the perfect tourist destination.”