TOURIST attractions and accommodation providers are being invited to set out their stalls at Hexham Tourism Fair.

An additional feature of the Hexham fair – which takes place at Hexham Mart on Thursday, March 17 – will be the annual “Meet the Maker” event on the same day.

Northumberland Tourism director, Jude Leitch, said: “The county is full of contrasts; a magical place filled with ancient castles, hidden gardens, unspoilt golden sandy beaches, rolling hills, rugged moorland, sweeping views, and friendly market towns and villages – it’s small wonder it remains a favoured location for film and TV dramas.

“As we prepare for the 2016 season, the North tourism fairs are excellent networking events and a chance to showcase why Northumberland is so highly rated as a domestic holiday destination.”

Chairman of the Heart of Hadrian’s Wall Tourism Association, Nigel Jarvis, added: “Northumberland’s Dark Skies and the iconic appeal of Hadrian’s Wall make Northumberland a preferred choice for many looking to holiday at home.

“Tourism is the second largest employer in the county and plays a vital role in our economy.”

Hexham Community Partnership’s Tamsin Beevor added: “Tourism is our life blood. I am hoping to see even more accommodation providers and members of the public at this year’s event.”

The annual “Meet the Maker” event attracts some 100 local makers of art, craft, music, food and drink, linking them with buyers from accommodation, hospitality, restaurants, cafes, tearooms, tourist attractions, tourist information centres, gift shops and local businesses.

Hospitality providers from across the county and along Hadrian’s Wall will be welcomed at the event which will run from 10am until 2.30pm. Members of the public are also welcome at the fair where admission is free, and event organiser Local Living is expecting a record attendance.