The 2023 STEAM Data Deep Dive

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Let's dive into the 2023 STEAM data for the region

The research tracks visitor numbers and spend across the year. There's been some positive results for North East England, headlined by over 69 million people flocking to the region for a visit last year. Below, we take a deep dive into the numbers and look at what it means for North East England and the region's visitor economy.

Read the news article
  • North East England welcomed over 69 million people to the region in 2023, an increase of 5% on 2022's numbers. 

  • Both day visits and overnight visits have increased, with over 7.6 million taking an overnight stay in the region. A bumper summer of live events
    like Beyonce, P!nk and Sam Fender have likely contributed to the larger increases in Newcastle and Sunderland especially. 


  • Visitor spend increased by over half a billion pounds in 2023 (excluding inflation). 


  • Over 63,000 people are now employed in full time equivalent roles in the visitor economy
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The region's visitor data in depth

Newcastle

  • 10.98 million total visitors, up 5% from 2022
  • 9.279 million day visitors, up by 4.9% on 2022
  • 1.7 million overnight visitors, up 6% on 2022
  • 13,785 total FTE's, up 10.9% on 2022
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Gateshead

  • 6.852 million total visitors, up 2% from 2022
  • 6.19 million day visitors, up 2.2% from 2022
  • 0.66 million overnight visitors, up 2% on 2022
  • 7,500 total FTE's, up 8.9% from 2022
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Northumberland

  • 10.12 million total visitors, up 1% on 2022
  • 8.26 million day visitors, up 2.7% on 2022
  • 1.855 million overnight visitors, down 4% from 2022
  • 14,655 total FTE's, down 0.2% on 2022
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Sunderland

  • 8.73 million total visitors, up 3% on 2022
  • 7.92 million day visitors, up 2.2% from 2022
  • 0.81 million overnight visitors, up 6% on 2022
  • 5,848 total FTE's, up 10.8% from 2022
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Durham

  • 20.15 million total visitors, up 12.5% on 2022
  • 18.54 million day visitors, up 13.7% from 2022
  • 1.611 million overnight visitors, up 0.2% from 2022
  • 13,178 total FTE's, up 12.4% on 2022
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North Tyneside

  • 5.86 million total visitors, up 3% on 2022
  • 5.32 million day visitors, up 2.4% on 2022
  • 0.54 million overnight visitors, up 4% from 2022
  • 4,032 total FTE's, up 9.5% on 2022
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South Tyneside

  • 6.45 million total visitors, up 2% on 2022
  • 6.045 million day visitors, up 2.1% from 2022
  • 0.401 million overnight visitors, the same as 2022
  • 4,066 total FTE's up 8.1% on 2022
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North East England

  • 69.14 million total visitors, up 5% on 2022
  • 61.56 million day visitors, up 5.9% from 2022
  • 7.58 million overnight visitors, up 1.5% from 2022
  • 63,000 total FTE's, up 8% on 2022
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Insights

More visitors heading to urban escapes

Northumberland recorded fantastic figures in 2022 as visitors flocked to more rural retreats as we emerged from the pandemic. In 2023, their numbers have dropped back, with more urban parts of the region seeing increases. This suggests following a strong post-pandemic bounce-back for countryside travel, visitors are now more confident visiting built up urban areas and our cities and towns are now welcoming more of a share of the region's visits again.

Inflation is still stifling growth

VisitEngland stats show that the cost of living crisis and inflation are having a big impact on people's travel plans, with a large percentage of would-be tourists citing it as the main barrier to them taking a domestic trip.

Whilst visitors have spent over half a billion pounds more than in 2022, when we factor in inflation, the economic impact of visits to the region has only increased by £35 million. That said, the economic impact now stands at £6.1billion, showing the significant impact the sector has on the region's economy, jobs, investment and opportunities.

What's powering the high growth in Durham and the overnight visitor increases in Newcastle and Sunderland?

Durham recorded a whopping 13.7% increase in its day visitor numbers over 2022's figures - a fantastic result for the county. Whilst we can't say for certain what caused such a dramatic uptick, its likely that major investments at attractions including The Auckland Project and Beamish Museum have played a part. It's clear that the new visitor attraction offers in the county have helped to bring more people to the region for a day out.

Last summer also saw a bumper season of major live events, from big sporting fixtures to the showstopping live concerts from Beyonce and P!nk in Sunderland and Sam Fender's homecoming gig at St James' Park in Newcastle. It's likely these tentpole events helped to increase overnight visitor numbers in both cities.

How do we compare nationally?

Whilst these visitor numbers are mostly positive and demonstrate that we're attracting more visitors, for longer, the North East of England still lags behind most other parts of England in terms of its visitor numbers and spend. Indeed, visitor spend is almost 45 times lower than that of London. We also sit at the bottom of VisitEngland's league tables for total visitor numbers and international visitors. This shows we still have a long way to go, if we are to achieve Destination North East England's goal of doubling the value of the visitor economy by the end of the decade.

What is STEAM?

STEAM stands for Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor. STEAM is a tourism economic impact modelling process which approaches the measurement of tourism from the bottom up, through its use of local supply side data and tourism performance and visitor survey data collection.

STEAM 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.

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