Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Remote islanders' shopping spree

The Norrona leaving the Faroe Islands
The Norrona is the largest ferry in the Faroe Islands

Residents of a remote group of islands are paying a visit to Tyneside for a festive shopping trip.

The Norrona, a ferry carrying almost 1,000 passengers from the Faroe Islands, will be landing at North Shields later.

It will stay for 24 hours, allowing visits to shopping centres and other attractions in the Newcastle area.

A special "what's on" guide has been designed to help them make the most of the city.

Created by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, it includes information on places to eat and events.

It is the first time the Port of Tyne has received a ferry from the Faroes.

The Faroe Islands
The 18 islands form part of Denmark
They are located between Scotland and Iceland
Population is about 48,350
Wind-dried mutton is a favoured delicacy
Language is descended from Old Norse
More than 260 days a year are rainy

Since the loss of the Norwegian route in 2008 the port has been attempting to resurrect interest in a service between the Tyne and ports in Norway, Sweden, Demark and Iceland.

Steven Harrison, chief operating officer for the Port of Tyne said: "This call is significant in recognising the excellent passenger facilities available at the port in addition to fantastic visitor attractions in the North East.

"In the coming months we will be marketing these to other ferry operators in an effort to secure more regular services."

Andrew Dixon, chief executive for NewcastleGateshead Initiative, added "The Port of Tyne is a gateway to thousands of international visitors to the region every year.

"It's fantastic to see the port welcoming the Faroese and we hope by providing bespoke visitor information they'll be encouraged to come back to the region in the future."

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