Take That boost tourism more than the Royal wedding

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THE Kings of Pop are doing more than the future King of England to boost tourism on Wearside.

Prince William and long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton tie the knot in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey in April.

There had been speculation that the blushing bride’s humble North East roots – John Harrison, her great-great-grandfather was a miner in Hetton – might have sparked a mini-Wearside tourism boom.

But according to Sunderland Tourist Information Centre manager Carole Walsh, it is popsters Take That who are doing the city’s hospitality industry a right royal favour.

The grown-up boyband – reunited with long-lost member Robbie Williams – kick off their Progress Live 2011 European tour at the Stadium of Light in May.

“I think it is great Kate Middleton has roots like that but we haven’t really seen it translate into any extra visitor numbers,” said Carol.

“We have been taking coach bookings for trips to London and it would be nice to think there would be some kind of reciprocation.”

The extra Bank Holiday for the wedding is having a benefit, though.

“Easter is quite late this year, so there is a run of Bank Holidays quite close together and people are certainly looking for things to do,” she added.

“We have had a great response to Take That and because two of the dates were added later, people who did not get tickets for their home towns are coming here.

“It means we have got a lot of interest from outside the North East. The city is full and we can hopefully fill the rest of the region, or at least places with Metro links.”

Carol is predicting the concerts – followed by American rockers Kings of Leon in June - will provide a major boost for city businesses, provided they are ready.

“The last time Take That were here was fantastic,” she said.

“The buzz was great and a few of the restaurants rang us to say thanks for all the business we had been able to put their way.

“They did very well out of it and hopefully people will benefit in the same way again.”

l Are you planning to mark the Royal Wedding with a street party or celebration of some kind? Contact the Echo newsdesk, tel: 501 7208.