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Northumberland International Dark Sky Park bosses work with Drummond Central to boost astrotourism

Astrotourism bosses have revealed new branding they hope will help lead to thousands more visitors coming to the region.

Officials at Northumberland’s International Dark Sky Park has worked with Drummond Central on a new logo [below].

They say it reflects their ambitions to develop a new era in astrotourism and capitalise on Northumberland’s first Dark Sky Festival once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and life returns to a sense of normality.

According to pre-pandemic figures, dark skies tourism was worth more than £25 million per year to the county before the coronavirus pandemic, generating around 450 jobs.

Northumberland has already gained a national reputation for the excellence of its dark skies, and new events are being planned as the branding is launched, which will boost its astrotourism offering.

It includes building on the Northumberland Dark Sky Festival held earlier this year, where more than 4600 people logged on to 13 live streamed events, such as an Introduction to Astro Photography and Chasing the Northern Lights.

Maureen McAllister, acting director of visitor economy at Visit Northumberland, said: “Dark sky tourism continues to play an integral role in Northumberland’s tourism strategy.

“It’s been fantastic to see businesses collaborating to successfully deliver the first Northumberland Dark Sky Festival.

 

“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors back so they can experience our spectacular dark skies for themselves.”

Catherine Johns, chief executive of Kielder Observatory, which attracts thousands of visitors a year to Kielder Water and Forest Park, said: “Like so many industries, tourism has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“And, by working together, we see a real opportunity to grow Northumberland’s reputation as the best place in the country for astrotourism.”

Duncan Wise, visitor development and tourism officer for Northumberland National Park Authority, added: “We have all reconnected with nature while we stay at home and there’s a sense of humility about standing underneath a beautiful dark sky.

“By engaging with people online, more people have been able to experience Northumberland’s dark skies, many for the first time. As restrictions on movement start to ease, people will want to come and see themselves what Northumberland has to offer.

“We now have four observatories in and around our Dark Sky Park and we’re collaborating to support growth in our astrotourism offering.

“We look forward to welcoming people back for some unforgettable experiences.”