A £1million advertising campaign to boost the region has been welcomed on Wearside.
The North East claimed victory this week when it won a competition for the massive advertising spaces across Heathrow Airport.
With more than 19,000 likes in a Facebook contest, the region gained the most votes and iconic images from the North East will now be displayed at the airport which welcomes more then 73million passengers through the doors every year.
Gary Hutchinson, SAFCs commercial director, was among those who was delighted with the news.
Gary, who is also chairman of the North East Chamber of Commerce’s Sunderland committee, said: “This is fantastic news for the North East region and afford us a wonderful opportunity to promote our region to a national and international audience.
“It is also a striking testament to the people of the North East, who are quite rightly fiercely proud of our region and who backed the campaign so strongly.”
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said: “It’s superb news that the North East has won this competition, and it’s all thanks to the thousands of people who showed their pride in the region by casting their vote.
“Millions of people from all over the world pass through Heathrow every year, so this will be great exposure, and I hope it encourages tourists to come and experience the many fantastic attractions we have in Sunderland and the surrounding areas.”
John Holland Kaye, chief executive officer at Heathrow, said: “This beautiful region has really got behind the competition over the last two weeks, resulting in over 19,000 votes for the breathtaking image of Hadrian’s Wall.
“The competition in total received over 40,000 votes for all four regions so the North East should feel proud to receive this prestigious prize.
“Heathrow is the gateway to Britain. With seven flights a day from Heathrow to Newcastle we hope the winning images will inspire passengers to explore the beautiful North East during their visit to the UK.”
Joss Croft, Marketing Director at VisitBritain, which ran the competition, said: “I was delighted to see such collective campaigning across the winning region with tweets from Newcastle United FC, Sunderland AFC, local airports and the North East’s tourism industry all urging locals to get behind their area.
“It clearly worked and now the beauty of the North East will be seen by millions of overseas visitors each day.”