Cumbria and neighbouring Northumberland are set to go head-to-head in a bid to become one of five new Government Tourism Zone.

The new North of Tyne Combined Authority – which encompasses Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council and Newcastle City Council – has confirmed that it is joining forces with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, North East Combined Authority, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and other regional partners to work on a bid to become a dedicated Tourism Zone.

Tourism Zones were unveiled as the flagship initiative in the Government’s Tourism Sector Deal, which was launched at the start of the month.

Business secretary Greg Clark said the zones would provide a direct boost to holiday destinations by helping to create new jobs and improve transport connections, with initiatives also including support for product and promotion development, mentoring for businesses and digital skills training.

Cumbria Tourism confirmed quickly after the announcement that it would be working with its 2,500 members, Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and the Lake District National Park on a bid to secure the new status.

It would bring a further boost to the county’s £3 billion tourism industry, its managing director Gill Haigh told in-Cumbria.

Bidding to become a Tourism Zone is a competitive process and it remains unclear whether the Government will favour bids from well-established destinations such as Cumbria – the UK’s second most popular visitor destination as home to the Lake District World Heritage Site – or less well-know and popular regions with potential to increase the economic impact of tourism.

Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson, who is also portfolio holder for place and productivity of the North of Tyne authority, said securing the status for the North East region would bolster its already strong position as a visitor destination.

“One of the most distinctive features of tourism in the North-East is the sheer diversity of our offer, across a range of natural, environmental, heritage and cultural assets,” he told in-Cumbria’s sister title, the Hexham Courant.

“As an integral part of the region’s economy, we see tremendous scope to continue to enhance and improve the quality of the whole visitor experience, form a domestic and inbound perspective, with the tourism sector deal providing a great opportunity for us to further strengthen the way we work together to achieve this.

“It’s absolutely essential, therefore, that we have the right infrastructure for our visitors, both in terms of transport and digital connectivity, before, during and after their stay. We want visitors to have the best possible experience, and get the most out of their visit to ensure they come back time and again.”

Meanwhile, Cumbria, through Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council, is working with Northumberland County Council, as well as the Scottish Borders council and Dumfries and Galloway Council to boost tourism across the England-Scotland border through The Borderlands initiative.

Backed by £394.5 million of funding, the Borderlands Growth Deal, includes the ‘Destinations Borderlands’ strand, which aims to establish the region as a premier region for outdoor recreation.

It also aims to encourage longer stays and attract more overseas visitors but utilising the Borders region’s cultural assets.

Identified projects include a £19m “world-class” mountain bike innovation centre in the Scottish borders and up to £5m for the development of the Lilidorei play village at the Alnwick Gardens visitor attraction in Northumberland.

More projects are due to be bought forward before the full growth deal agreement is signed off next year.