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North East daily helps boost local tourism

A regional newspaper’s credit crunch campaign helped boost tourism in the North East during the recent school half-term week.

Trinity Mirror morning title The Journal launched ‘Think North East First’ earlier this month to encourage people to shop, holiday and spend their leisure time in the Newcastle area.

It received a welcome high-profile boost when Newcastle United and Sunderland footballers warmed up wearing special campaign T-shirts ahead of their Derby clash.

Stats from the National Trust and English Heritage show North East attractions pulled in more visitors during the February half-term than ever before.

Industry experts thanked The Journal for their bid to encourage people to spend their hard-earned cash close to home.

Beamish open air museum in County Durham welcomed 7,000 visitors, which represents a massive 250pc rise on the same time last year.

A National Trust castle and a local museum also welcomed a boost to visitor numbers.

Chairman of the North East Tourism Advisory Board Geoff Hodgson said: “It’s been fantastic. I think The Journal’s campaign has made everyone wake up.

“They’ve seen the 50 reasons to Think North East First and decided they are going to try them.

“I think the increases are massively encouraging for the year we are going to have, a year where people holiday close to home. The campaign has had a tremendous effect and its timing couldn’t be better.”

Journal editor Brian Aitken said: “We are pleased at the positive response we have had to Think North East First and it is extremely encouraging that we are being seen to be making such a tangible difference so early in the campaign.”