That's the view of Paul Collard, creative director of the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative (ngi) which has launched Culture 10, a rolling programme of events from now until 2010.
The vision is to make the region the best place to live and work and play and put it firmly on the world stage and indeed make it one of the top cultural places in the world.
That finding supports the fact that a range of different attractions were within easy reach of both visitors and residents.
Marketing the two places under a single destination label had been a huge success. "People have heard of us, they know where we are," says Paul.
The initial marketing drive was to highlight the traditional urban attractions and townscape of Newcastle with the new attractions of Gateshead, like the Baltic Arts Centre, the Millennium Bridge and the Sage music centre, which aim to make the south bank of the Tyne a similar pull to London's South Bank.
The initiative grew out of the bid for the title European Capital of Culture which, although Omega Speedmaster White Side Of The Moon the title went to Liverpool, has to be counted as a success.
Sunderland will play a key role in the future development of culture in the region.
One NorthEast, the Arts Council and Northern Rock Foundation joined the two councils in a 140million package of investment in a decade of cultural attractions.
For tourists coming into the region, information on a whole range of hotels would be provided, catering for those wanting traditional urban hotels, spas like Seaham Hall, seafront spots like the Seaburn Marriott or the range of country hotels available.
have been highlighting an Automobile Association finding that it takes longer to drive from Trafalgar Square to Shepherd's Bush than it does to drive from Newcastle to Darlington.
On the international stage, a Newsweek magazine cover story had featured it as one of the eight most creative cities in the world.
"We are generating a lot of employment, a lot of tourism and a lot of business."
"We aim to get people to come here and see what we have got and what we have got is fantastic."
Already, outsiders were viewing us in a different way to that of a few years ago, when the old image of heavy industry, grime and decay might have been first to spring to mind.
different experiences is what consumers want.
"We want the whole region to grow together. It is in our interest to promote attractions across a wide field because being able to enjoy a range of Omega Seamaster James Bond Casino Royale
"Spreading the economic benefit as widely as possible is clearly in everyone's interests. We want people to see the region as a whole."
Part of the success, though, is due to the range of different experiences the region as a whole has to offer and the ease with which people can move around, he says.
And Time magazine had featured it as one of the 12 "hidden capitals" of Europe.
And a major waterfront festival, including live music and arts along Cliffe Park, will be one of the city's main contributions next year to a new culture initiative across the region.
He points out that an Observer Guardian poll had voted Newcastle/Gateshead as the number one short break destination in Britain.
A DECADE of world class culture will help build the reputation of the North East not only as an international tourist attraction, but also as a top place to live and work.
In their marketing, they Omega Watch Straps Leather
class culture drive
Sunderland could play a key part in making the region a world class cultural centre. CAROL ROBERTON talks to the creative director of Culture 10, brainchild of the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, and to Sunderland's own head of culture and tourism about the new role the city can Omega Gold Watch Womens
Chris Alexander, Sunderland's head of culture and tourism, says the city will take its place as an equal partner in the development of Culture 10, which was set up by the Gateshead Newcastle initiative to plan programmes of events between now and 2010.
"There has been a huge increase in the numbers of visitors coming here and because of the change in profile, and the way people see the region, for the first time since the Second World War we have a growing population of people moving in here and people coming back here to live and work." said Paul.
"Within ten minutes of our cities, people can be in beautiful countryside. That's something you can't get, for example, in the urban sprawl around places like Birmingham."
He added: "It was always intended that Wearside would be involved."
"Seven or eight years ago, many people would have laughed at the notion of Newcastle and Gateshead as a serious tourist destination, but that is where we are now.
Sports, as well as the arts, would be featured in the programme with the aim of appealing to a wide range of tastes.
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