The arrival of the Tall Ships Race to Tyneside brought with them 1.5m visitors, new research reveals.
More than 100 vessels visited the River Tyne
The study, commissioned by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, also showed that a high proportion were from outside the UK.
The event in July prompted more than 300,000 to extend their stay in the North East for up to 10 days.
It was also good news for the rest of the region, with guest stays up in Northumberland and Durham.
Day trippers accounted for the majority of visitors, but the number who opted for an overnight stay was 10% up on the last visit of the Tall Ships in 1993.
Most overnighters came from the within the UK with the highest percentage travelling from Yorkshire and the South East.
The survey was based on interviews with 1,300 people who attended the event, which featured around 100 traditional vessels.
The majority of visitors from out of the area who responded to the survey said they had come especially for the event and as many as four in five said they would visit the region again.
Andrew Dixon, chief executive of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: "These events not only have the power to engage the local community but also to act as a real driver for tourism and the region's economy."
A spokesman for Newcastle City Council said: "These findings demonstrate how much a high profile event like this can boost tourism and bring benefit to the whole region."
A spokesman for Gateshead Council added: "The increased number of visitors is in part due to the fact that the area has really bloomed in the last 10 years."