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LEP/Fighting Spirit

Keeping tourism a priority in the NE

You may have read about the recent appointment of directors to the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership. How seriously will this influential body take the tourism industry, and how will businesses have access to it?

The North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership (NE LEP) was established at the behest of Government to be the region's voice for economic growth. A permanent board took up post in July, chaired by Paul Woolston, senior partner at PwC. He is joined by Jeremy Middleton, Fiona Cruikshank, Gill Southerton, David Land, Paul Varley, Michael Bellamy and Dr Arnub Basu. Together they join 7 Council Leaders and Professor Chris Brink of Newcastle University and Angela O'Donoghue of Sunderland College.

Prior to their appointment an interim board set out 5 priority sectors for growing the economy. Northumberland Tourism, Northumberland County Council, and our regional tourism partners worked hard to ensure that tourism is one of those 5. The new board is now asking for lead directors for each sector. To date no director has been appointed to tourism.

Northumberland Tourism is liaising with the NE LEP both directly and via the Northern Tourism Alliance. You may recall that the Alliance was set up in 2010 to speak on behalf of the region's tourism industry, and to continue co-operation between destinations following the demise of One North East. We are in discussions with the NE LEP to have the Alliance formally recognised as the LEPs route to the tourism industry.

In the meantime Northumberland is fortunate that Cllr Jeff Reid, Northumberland's Leader and therefore a director of the NE LEP, is also a director of Northumberland Tourism and a strong advocate for the industry.

Northern Tourism Alliance

The Alliance was established in late 2010 to ensure the tourism industry was well represented in a rapidly changing strategic and political environment, and to continue co-operation between destinations. Its founder members are Northumberland Tourism, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, VisitCountyDurham, the North East Tourism Advisory Board (NETAB), Hadrian's Wall Heritage, and the North East Hotels Association. It is chaired by Geoff Hodgson, previously chair of NETAB and a well known business leader.

The Alliance is in the process of agreeing Terms of Reference and its legal status. Businesses with a regional and national reach interested in membership should contact Giles Ingram at Northumberland Tourism.

In addition to liaising with the NE LEP, VisitEngland and VisitBritain, the Alliance hosted the July visit of the Tourism Minister, John Penrose. It is currently reviewing Desti.ne (the regional IT platform) with a view to issuing a joint tender, and is co-operating to ensure regional research is continued. The regional tourism awards will be delivered under the Alliance banner in 2011.

Further information from www.nsp.org.uk/economicstrategy (see Economic Updates for LEP progress) and from Giles Ingram, Chief Executive, Northumberland Tourism.

Celebrating the Olympics – Northumberland's Fighting Spirit

Tell us what you think of an idea. An idea that could spark a county-wide celebration for 2012 – the Olympics year. An idea for a theme that gives Northumberland a unique proposition for UK and overseas visitors, and celebrates Northumberland's distinctive heritage and culture. 'Northumberland's Fighting Spirit' – it may sound a little whacky, but it could just work!

 

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