City Is a Leading Light for Events; NORTH East England Has, in the Last Decade, Grown into One of the UK's Leading Destinations for Conferences and Events with the "Twin Cities" of NewcastleGateshead at Its Heart. JESSICA ROBERTS, Head of Business Tourism at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau Explains More

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ACCORDING to research, the conference sector in NewcastleGateshead contributes an estimated pounds 240m to the local economy supporting 5,700 jobs.

An estimated 1.6m conference delegates descended on NewcastleGateshead during 2008-09 accounting for 57% of the total number visiting the region, and 63% of all gross business tourism value in North East England, where the industry supports 7,660 jobs and contributes an estimated pounds 378m.

A decade ago this was just a dream, before major infrastructure developments transformed the destination beyond recognition. The arrival of major new names like Hilton, Hotel du Vin and Jurys Inn, heavy investment in existing properties such as Newcastle Marriott Gosforth Park and the County Hotel by Thistle, and the development of NewcastleGateshead's flagship venue for meetings and events, The Sage Gateshead, have all left a lasting impression on the area's ability to host high-profile conferences and events.

Likewise, other major projects have made a real difference to the destination and its offer for conference planners. The introduction of the QuayLink lowemission bus service linking the Quayside with the city centre makes the already compact destination even easier to get around.

The launch of daily Emirates flights from Newcastle International to Dubai has opened up the area to the world, helping it attract international conferences with delegates from across the globe.

This staggering growth could not have been achieved without the sustained partnership working that has taken place across the area, with venues as diverse as Rockliffe Hall and the Alnwick Garden coming together with support service providers such as Benchmark Communications and Cynergy, and production companies including Hi-Lights, R&B Group and Saville AV, all taking a collective approach to winning conference business for the region.

Many choose to do this by becoming members of NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, allowing them opportunities to network, meet conference organisers nationally and internationally at trade events, as well as take advantage of a range of member opportunities to promote their venue, facilities and services.

One of these opportunities is the NewcastleGateshead Conference Guide, the last edition of which was awarded for its innovative approach to marketing the region to conference buyers at the prestigious Meetings Industry Marketing Awards. …

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