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More visitors attracted to the region in year of Grand Depart

The North East had an 8% growth (372,000 people) in visitors in 2014. There was also a 3% rise in spending - £181m.

A VisitBritain report revealed more international tourists began travelling across the country than ever before.

It's thought the Tour de France played a part in the record number of visitors to Yorkshire last year (12%, reaching a new record of 1.08 million). London saw a rise of 6%.

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Around The House: Tonight at 10.40pm

Around The House at 10.40pm on ITV Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Paul Brand presents this month's political programme from Westminster.

North East MPs Bridget Phillipson and Ian Swales are among the guests to discuss the ups and downs of the election campaign so far.

Also in the programme; how much do we need to earn, to be able to have a decent life?

Join Paul Brand for Around The House, tonight (Thurs 22 January) at the new earlier time of 10.40pm.

Tour de France generates £8.3m for York

Le Tour De France navigates it's way through York passing Bettys Tea Rooms and the Mansion House. Credit: PA

The weekend of the Tour de France Grand Depart generated £8.3 million for the York economy last year, according to a recent report.

The report details the economic benefits York has seen and will continue to see in the coming years from hosting the 2014 Tour. It will be discussed later today in a council meeting of the city's Cabinet.

An estimated 200,000 spectators lined the route through York. Yellow bikes appeared across the main stages in the Yorkshire Dales, Harrogate and York.

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Remote petrol stations could claim back 5p a litre in tax

Rural petrol stations could claim back 5p per litre in tax. Credit: PA

Petrol stations in two of the North East's most remote areas could claim back up to 5p per litre in tax within a few months.

The government wants to bring down fuel prices in Hawes in North Yorkshire and the area around Bellingham and Wark in Northumberland.

The proposals need approval from the European Council before they can be implemented.

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Work starts on Scarborough's multi-million pound water park

Work on a multi-million pound water park in Scarborough’s North Bay is getting underway today. Construction is expected to take around 14 months and the park is due to open for Easter 2016. It's hoped it will attract up to half a million visitors a year.

The attraction will initially feature four water rides, a wave pool,a luxury spa suite and an outdoor iodine infinity pool (a pool heated to 36° C with massage jets, which can help enhance health and well being). There are also plans for other features to be added to the water park under future development phases.

It will be built on Burniston Road car park.

The water park forms part of the much wider redevelopment of Scarborough’s North Bay, known as The Sands.

To say everyone involved in this project is very excited with this week’s fantastic news is an understatement. An attraction of this quality and scale will bring massive economic benefits, not just to Scarborough, but the wider borough and Yorkshire as well, both in the construction phase and once it is open.

– Cllr Derek Bastiman, Scarborough Borough Council

Festive figures up 8.2% for bakery Greggs

Credit: PA

North East-based Greggs has credited its decision to focus on the needs of ‘food-on-the-go’ customer for their strong sales over Christmas.

The bakery giants like-for-like own shop sales increased by 8.2% in December compared to 3.1% last year.

For the financial year the company's total sales grew by 5.5%, with like-for-like sales, which exclude any effects of expansion, acquisition or any other event that artificially enlarge a company's sales, up 4.5%.

Their full year results, due out on the 4th March, are expected to be higher than previously estimated.

Since our last update on 15 December we have experienced a very strong level of trade through the Christmas and New Year period. Customers have clearly responded to the improvements in our product offer and service, designed to meet the needs of the food-on-the-go consumer, during this busy period.

This has been a year in which we have made good progress with our strategic plans and seen a welcome improvement in financial performance. We remain clear on our priorities and are confident that we can make further progress in the year ahead.”

– Roger Whiteside, Chief Executive

Greggs have 1,650 shops trading across the UK as of 3rd January 2015 and their estate improvement programme has led to 213 shop refurbishments.

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