Tyne & Wear

Tall Ships and airshow boosted Sunderland economy by £19.3m

Tall Ships moored in Sunderland Image copyright NNP
Image caption Organisers of the regatta said they wanted to make it "a cherished memory"

A Tall Ships regatta and the annual airshow boosted Sunderland's economy by £19.3m, the city council has said.

The maritime event in July featured more than 50 ships from 16 countries and attracted 1.2 million people.

A further 600,000 took in the three-day 30th anniversary airshow that month.

The authority's Economic Prosperity Scrutiny Committee was told a further £6m-£8m was expected to be generated by the city's illuminations, which were staged between October and November.

The figures factored in spending from city residents and visitors from further afield, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

Events manager Victoria French said the Tall Ships "had an international reach" with people either travelling to Wearside specifically for the event or visiting as part of an already booked holiday.

However, Sunderland City Council said the airshow was "seen as only for Sunderland residents" and added it needed to change that perception.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Red Arrows are a regular attraction at the airshow

Feedback from regatta visitors raised issues around the availability of seats, buses and queues, while airshow comments focused on food and drinks prices and a need for more toilets.

The council agreed to invest £3m into the Tall Ships in 2015, but months before the event the authority released a further £2m.

The money was linked to infrastructure works such as dredging the River Wear as well as fixing handrails and the cost of hiring pontoons.

Merchandise profits from the regatta totalled £10,000, the committee heard.

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