Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 15.22.10The last 12 months has seen Durham’s profile as a visitor destination raised in overseas markets, following a series of new initiatives.

Durham is currently taking part in a campaign aimed at bringing more French visitors to the county. Spearheaded by England’s Heritage Cities, the consortium of 11 cities were successful in securing a share of the £2m GREAT UK Challenge Fund, part of the Government’s GREAT Britain Campaign.

The campaign, which launched in February, runs for two months. It is being managed by destination management organisations Visit County Durham, Marketing Cheshire, VisitBath and Visit Greenwich, with Visit County Durham leading on some of the marketing activity which has secured £90,000 from the GREAT UK Challenge Fund.

Activity is targeting repeat visitors to England and utilises a range of digital channels to drive short breaks into the English regions. A new dedicated French website www.heritagecities.com/fr has been set up and a programme of press visits from French media is taking place.

Durham’s profile as a visitor destination is also being raised in overseas markets through the £20m Northern Tourism Growth Fund (NTGF) programme, announced by Government in November 2014. Managed by VisitEngland, working closely with international delivery partner VisitBritain and partner organisations from across the North of England, including Visit County Durham, activity has targeted China, the US, Australia/New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands.

In recent months Visit County Durham has welcomed journalists and travel trade representatives from the US, Germany, China and the Netherlands and has promoted the county at a number of trade and consumer shows, with further press trips, travel trade visits and trade show attendance taking place during March.

Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, said of the new initiatives: “Durham has lots to offer overseas visitors and it is important that we continue to work in partnership to maximise opportunities. We have been heavily involved in both the French campaign and the Northern Tourism Growth Fund, which has enabled us to raise the profile of the county in overseas markets on a scale never seen before.”