Tourism worth £200m to South Tyneside

TOURIST DRAW ... Joe McElderry's Bents Park concert was among the events which helped generate more than �200m for South Tyneside's tourist industry.
TOURIST DRAW ... Joe McElderry's Bents Park concert was among the events which helped generate more than �200m for South Tyneside's tourist industry.

TOURISM is worth more than £200m a year to South Tyneside’s economy, latest statistics reveal.

In addition to maintaining and creating more than 3,000 jobs in the borough, tourism helped generate £211.63m for the local economy over the last financial year.

Next week, members of South Tyneside Council’s full council will look back at the success of culture events held last summer, and ahead to plans for the coming year.

The South Tyneside Summer Festival again enjoyed another highly successful year, members will be told.

More than 35,000 people were attracted to three concerts in Bents Park, South Shields, in July, featuring local lad Joe McElderry, singer Sophie Ellis Bextor and bands Dodgy and the Lightning Seeds.

Tommy’s Parties at the town’s amphitheatre brought in another 3,500 visitors at appearances throughout August.

And this year’s Great North Run, a concert by pop legends Squeeze at the town’s Gypsies Green Stadium and X-Factor winners Little Mix’s appearance at the Temple Park Centre are also highlighted as notable successes.

In a report to be presented to the committee by Coun Michael Clare, the council’s lead member for regeneration, economic growth and jobs, says: “Statistics on tourism visitors are published a year in arrears.

“Figures for 2010 have now been published, and show that the borough attracted 5.24m visits and that tourism was worth £211.63m to the local economy, supporting 3,136 jobs.

“In recognition of the important role of tourism and culture in developing the economy, the council and its partners will develop a further programmes of events during 2012.

“New cultural developments include development of public art on the tower of Souter Lighthouse.

“The council, working with the National Trust and the Customs House, will look to progress this scheme in 2012.

“South Shields foreshore continues to see construction on a world-class new leisure facility at Pier Parade. This adds another attraction to the foreshore, continuing to make it an exceptional place to visit.”

Meanwhile, South Tyneside has received cash from the Big Lottery Fund to create outdoor places for children and improve existing ones.

Last year was a busy year for the scheme, with play areas completed in Dacre Street North and South, Devonshire Street, Cleadon Park, Galsworthy Road, West Harton, Holborn and Readhead Park, South Shields.

Regenerating Hebburn Town Centre, including the imminent demolition of Exeter Court, will also be discussed at the meeting.

Coun Clare added: “This year will see high priority given to boosting existing retail and new opportunities in the town centre.

“Potential early development sites have been identified at Wouldhave House in South Shields – which will be demolished in the next financial year – and in Barrington Street.”

The council is to meet from 3pm next Thursday in the council chamber at South Shields Town Hall.

The public are welcome.

paul.kelly@northeast-press.co.uk