The county of Durham has exceeded its ambitious tourism targets three years ahead of schedule.
Commissioned by Visit County Durham, the STEAM economic impact model – which assesses data from attractions, accommodation, events, transport and visitor expenditure – shows that tourism’s contribution is now worth £867 million to the county’s economy.
The record growth reflects a 15% increase from the £752 million benchmark set in 2014, and surpassing the 2020 projected target of £863 million in the Durham Tourism Management Plan 2016-2020.
The study shows that Durham welcomed 19.7 million tourism visits in 2017, a 2.4% increase year-on-year, with these visitors spending £867 million during their stay – up by 5%.
The number of jobs supported by the visitor economy increased to almost 11,700 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, an increase of 5% from 2016.
Councillor Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted to see that the data revealed by the STEAM report shows a year-on-year growth in terms of the economic impact of tourism in the county, and that our vision for the development of Durham as a visitor destination is coming to fruition.
“This data clearly demonstrates the importance of tourism and the wider visitor economy in helping to deliver local jobs and support local businesses.”
Ivor Stolliday, chair of Visit County Durham, added: “The county has so much to offer in terms of attractions, accommodation and experience.
“The successful results are a reflection of the collective and collaborative way that the sector works locally to raise the profile of the county as a visitor destination and we are delighted to see that partnership-led marketing campaigns are attracting a greater number of visitors, resulting in this impressive year-on-year growth.”