North East leisure industry - what a wonderful year
What a strange and unusual year the last 12 months have given us, with continued upheaval in the casual dining sector; a long hot summer and an unexpected run by England’s football team in the World Cup contributing to a strong performance from the pub sector – and, of course, the dreaded ‘B’ word having an influence (but not necessarily in a bad way).
Here in the North East, we witnessed a myriad of events, ranging from the Rugby League Magic Weekend to Ed Sheeran playing St James’ Park and the Great Exhibition of The North.
While different, they all drew visitors to the region in increased numbers, with the Great North Run continuing to generate an estimated £24m for the regional economy. The success of the Newcastle Falcons’ Big One at NUFC was also clear, with the fixture returning in March, when we will see the Falcons taking on Sales Sharks at St James Park.
The last 12 months were also a strong year for new openings, from the grand – the long anticipated return of the Spanish City after a £10m redevelopment; to the modern – the opening of the Stack on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle and the By The River Brew Co on Hilgate Quay, Gateshead; to the traditional – the opening of the new £4m, 30 bedroom Amble Inn by the Inn Collection; to the micro, with the opening of the Front Street Tap House, Monkseaton, a micropub with a focus on rum and craft ales and everything in between.