Hotels and B&Bs in North East England had a record number of visitors at 65% last month. Figures from One North East have revealed that this number is the highest for April since 1997. Tourism businesses in the region have recorded a 3% increase for the first four months of 2010 compared to the same period last year. “North East England welcomes millions of visitors all year round which helps drive economic growth in the region,” said One North East Director of Communications and Tourism Stacy Hall. “Forward bookings for 2010 are already very encouraging and major, world-class events such as the Tall Ships Races and the annual Great North Run, will help to bring even more visitors to the region later this year.” Online bookings for the region through Desti.ne Frontdesk have also risen by 23%. “It is great to see that occupancy levels and on-line bookings are continuing to increase and feedback from the region’s tourism businesses is optimistic, with nearly three-fifths currently expecting as good a year or even better than last,” explained North East Tourism Advisory Board Chair Geoff Hodgson. Amongst the attractions to have seen an increase is Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, which has recorded a 53% increase in visitor numbers.