Latest tourism figures for Durham build on bumper £1bn milestone

Publication Date: 22nd May 2024

The latest STEAM* figures, which calculate the volume and value of the county’s visitor economy, show that Durham has continued to build on the bumper £1bn milestone achieved in 2022, with results showing expenditure rose by 18.8% in 2023, to £1.23bn.

Overall, 20.15 million people visited the county, an increase of 12.5%. Durham also recorded a significant leap in day visits, up by 13.7% year-on-year, reflecting the impact major developments and investments including The Auckland Project and Beamish Museum have had on attracting visitors to the county.

The number of people employed in tourism in Durham has also grown, up by 12.4% to 13,178 FTEs in 2023, of which 10,559 are directly employed and 2,619 indirectly (supply chain)

Michelle Gorman, managing director at Visit County Durham said: “We are thrilled with the latest STEAM results, which are testament to the incredible partnerships across the county that are committed to working together to grow our visitor economy. The county has greatly benefited from new attractions and developments over recent years, and with more to come, including New Hall at Locomotion and The Rising at Raby Castle, it puts us in a really strong position for 2024 and beyond. 

However, we acknowledge that increasing the percentage of overnight stays, along with growing our overseas visitor numbers, are where significant change will come, and we will continue to work in partnership across the region to realise these opportunities.”

And there was positive news from across the region too, as the North East welcomed almost 70 million visitors, an increase of 5% on 2022. Overall, the economic impact of visits to the region stands at £6.1 billion, when accounting for inflation, increasing by almost £35 million since 2022, demonstrating the significant impact the sector has on jobs, investment and opportunities available to both residents and visitors alike.

*STEAM stands for Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor. STEAM is a tourism economic impact modelling process which quantifies the local economic impact of tourism, from both staying and day visitors, through analysis and use of a variety of inputs including visitor attraction numbers, tourist accommodation bedstock, events attendance, occupancy levels, accommodation tariffs, macroeconomic factors, visitor expenditure levels, transport use levels and tourism-specific economic multipliers.