2021 sees the County of Durham’s destination management and marketing organisation, Visit County Durham, celebrate its 15th year working in partnership with local businesses to develop and grow Durham’s tourist economy.
The work of organisations such as Visit County Durham has seldom been more crucial than today. The tourism sector in the UK has suffered greatly because of the Covid-19 pandemic, an industry which contributed £955 million to the local economy in County Durham alone in 2019, when the region welcomed 20.13 million visitors.
Determined to help the region bounce back from Covid, Visit County Durham has plenty in the pipeline to ensure that it can continue shining the spotlight on the region.
Having already achieved its objective to cement County Durham’s status as one of the leading tourist destinations in the northeast of England, the organisation wants to build on that momentum by ensuring it can offer a visitor experience even superior to that of the premier county-based destinations elsewhere in the country.
It has also outlined a number of initiatives to further boost the visitor economy, including:
- Providing additional support for the sector via a visitor economy business resilience, productivity, and innovation scheme.
- Harnessing the full potential of a partnership between County Durham and the A Coruña province in North Spain to collaborate and promote the pilgrimage routes of the Northern Saints Trails and the English Way section of the Camino de Santiago Compostela.
-Launching a county-wide conferencing and business tourism website and destination proposition.
By working in tandem with its partners, Visit County Durham has said that it is well-placed to continue to develop and grow the local visitor economy which will bring benefit not only to tourists but crucially to local businesses.
Indeed, the visitor market is already beginning to reopen in 2021 with a domestic tourism boom expected, and feedback from businesses indicates that visitor numbers are matching or even exceeding pre-Covid levels.
Therefore, Visit County Durham is looking to the future with real optimism as the county looks set to achieve a £1 billion-plus visitor economy, which will generate further jobs and opportunities.
To help achieve its aims, Visit County Durham has also been boosted by the securing of an £80,000 grant from VisitEngland’s Recovery Marketing Fund for destination management organisations, which has been invested into a new marketing campaign that will help increase visitor numbers locally through bookable experiences across the county.
The campaign will be buoyed by various forms of activity promoting the county to potential tourists, including video on demand, digital display advertising and content from social media influencers.