Conferences Are Great for the Region

Article excerpt

Byline: GILL PILKINGTON

HOSTING major conferences in NewcastleGateshead provides a significant boost to the regional economy as well as providing the perfect platform for North East businesses to forge important new networks and showcase their expertise.

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau - the specialist businesstourism team which attracts conferences to the destination - runs a successful Conference Ambassador Programme driving business to the region through the dedication and efforts of local academics and business people bidding for major conferences.

Let me explain why conferences and our local conference ambassadors are key to the region's tourism fortunes and how the bureau can support the efforts of ambassadors wishing to bring conferences here.

Conferences are big business! On the eve of the Unison Black Members' Conference at The Sage Gateshead - which will boost the local economy by an estimated half a million pounds - there's never been a better time to demonstrate this.

Unison, Britain's biggest public-sector trade union, will hold one of their key annual conferences later this week, attracting 600 delegates to the destination over the three-day meeting. Unison National Women's Conference is just a month later at the same venue.

Five years ago, the former conference was the first major conference ever to come to The Sage Gateshead. Delegate feedback indicating a desire to base their meeting in the 'twin cities' again was a factor in the organisation's decision to return.

Conferences attract influential movers and shakers. A high proportion are frequently first-time visitors and high spenders. …