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Survey gives insight into Barnard Castle visitors
DAYTRIPPERS make up more than half the number of visitors to a County Durham market town, according to the results of new research.
A series of surveys was carried out in Barnard Castle during the summer to establish the importance of tourists to the town's retail sector.
The research was organised by the Barnard Castle Business Guild, which represents more than 100 traders.
Results show that while 51 per cent of visitors come for the day, just 21 per cent stay overnight, while the remaining 28 per cent of those questioned lived in Barnard Castle or neighbouring Startforth.
Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Sunderland were the three biggest points of origin for daytrippers, while overall, 22 per cent of those spending the day in Barnard Castle came from elsewhere in County Durham.
Most tourists who stayed the night also came from the county, while Yorkshire and Lancashire provided the second and third highest number of overnight visitors.
Of those who did stay one night or more, 44 per cent used the dale's camping and caravan sites, while 16 per cent stayed in hotels and 13 per cent in self catering or second homes.
The vast majority of daytrippers said they were regulars to the town, but 55 per cent of overnight stays were made by people who said they were not repeat visitors.
Sightseeing and shopping were given as the most popular reasons for visiting Barnard Castle.
Guild chairman Tony Woods said the data threw up plenty of food for thought.
He said: “It shows we get a lot of people from Sunderland, but not so many from Newcastle, just a few miles away, while Leeds, which is just over an hour away, hardly sends anybody.
“From the comments people made, the road closure on the A67 hit us this year. “People from Darlington were saying they did not realise they could get here.”
Other comments, mainly from overnight visitors, highlighted the fact that many shops were closed on a Sunday.
“There is a lot of work to do in the next six months so we can make the most of the information we have got,” added Mr Woods.
The surveys were carried out between 9am and 5pm on a different day over seven weeks.
The project was made possible with the help of a grant for £900 from Teesdale Action Partnership.
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