Tyne & Wear

Lumiere festival 'boosts Durham economy by £9.6m'

A youngster enjoys the Sugarcube light display Image copyright Durham County Council
Image caption Sugarcube was among the installations which entranced Lumiere visitors

An outdoor light festival brought £9.6m into the County Durham economy when it was staged last year, a report has found.

About 200,000 people attended Lumiere, which saw 29 artworks illuminate Durham over four nights in November.

A report commissioned by the county council concluded it delivered almost £4m more than the 2013 event.

Cabinet members will next week be asked to agree a commissioning fee of £600,000 to bring it back in 2017.

The remainder of the estimated £1.8m cost of staging the festival would come from an Arts Council England grant, sponsorship, trusts and donations, the authority said.

Image copyright Durham County Council

Council leader Simon Henig said the 2015 event had been commissioned on the basis of its "sound economic impact which demonstrated a clear and significant return on our investment for the county, businesses and residents".

Some of the increase was linked to a "greater scrutiny of visitor spend", he said.

Adam Deathe, business engagement manager at Durham Business District, said hotels, restaurants and shops all benefited as visitors came into the city from across the North East and further afield.

"Lumiere brings national attention to Durham and hotels are booked up months in advance as people come for a couple of days at least," he said.

"Often they use the city as a base and explore the wider area as well."

First staged in the city in 2009, the festival has returned every other year, while January 2016 saw organisers, Artichoke, hold the first Lumiere London.

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