Last week Parliament celebrated English Tourism Week with a special event to highlight the opportunities tourism has for the economy.
This year saw the eighth annual English Tourism Week, but also marks the 50th anniversary of the Tourism Act and the British Tourist Authority.
I met the Tourism Minister to discuss the contribution tourism makes to jobs and local communities.
Tourism is one of England’s largest and most valuable industries, directly employing more than 2.6 million people in England and generating more than £106billion a year for Britain’s economy.
Last year the north east welcomed more than half a million overseas tourists, but the region also welcomed seven times that number of domestic visitors.
In number terms that means £3.4billion per annum for the north east, employing more than 60,000 people.
This is a great opportunity for our area.
The regeneration of the coast makes it a fantastic place to live and work, but without question it’s a great place to visit.
The transformation of Whitley Bay has already seen dozens of new businesses locating here and Tynemouth Village receives regular praise.
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn needs our continued support in her efforts, and that includes keeping the flow of central government support in terms of the Coastal Communities Fund.
And whoever the new North of Tyne Mayor is, I hope they will use their good office to promote the attractions our area has to offer.