Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised to pump £10m of government money into a new strategy for tourism in the North.
His plan aims to bring together the current offer from 29 individual tourism boards.
His pledge comes on the eve of the Lancashire Tourism Awards, being presented at Blackpool Tower tonight.
Figures show that London has 4.5 times more international visitors than the North of England as a whole.
Scotland has twice as many tourists as Yorkshire or the entire North West.
Mr Clegg said: “It’s absurd that our great North is missing out on visitors when it boasts such stunning countryside, history and culture. Through the Northern Futures project, I asked people what our Northern cities needed in order to compete globally, and to grow.
“Your resounding call is clear – a strong Northern future relies on putting the North back on the map: a top tourist destination.
From next year, I’m putting funding in place for there to be a clear strategy for tourism in the North.”
See Saturday’s Evening Post for a full round-up of the Lancashire awards, organised by Marketing Lancashire.