Promoting Wearside is a must

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TOURISM chiefs have warned council leaders they must make promoting the region a priority as cuts continue to bite.

With the money used to sell the region across the UK and globally now scrapped and tourism groups facing closure, the latest efforts to form regional leadership groups have come under increased pressure to set out what they will do to help safeguard jobs.

Yesterday, the Tourism Tyne and Wear Group met for its last annual conference as it prepares for closure in April.

At that point the NewcastleGateshead Initiative will take in a wider remit.

Also up for the chop after the Government announced the closure of multimillion-pound development agency One North East are the Durham and Northumberland area tourism partnerships.

Between them they have, with a large amount of cash for advertising, helped sell the region and bring in tens of thousands of additional visitors.

As these bodies are scrapped, the Government is hoping to force councils and businesses to come together in Local Enterprise Partnerships to convince voters that ministers are still committed to regeneration projects.

But tourism bosses know the new Partnership, covering the seven councils from Durham to Northumberland, has so far done little but argue over its structure.