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Industry News

Northern Futures Fund

Late last year Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, announced Regional Growth Funding of £10m to ‘support tourism in the North of England’, providing exciting opportunities for international marketing activity in the coming year.

Alongside Northern Tourism Alliance (NTA) colleagues, we are engaged in the process of developing a single proposal for this fund – working with destinations across the North and the team at VisitEngland.

The strategy and proposed activity must:

  • Demonstrate strategic cohesion and collaboration across the North
  • Ideally be deliverable in 2015/16.
  • Be international in focus; need to retain focus on what drives international visitors and key target markets.
  • Lever match funding and private sector contributions (targets or percentages yet TBC).
  • Deliver a real step change in approach and a legacy for future years (which could potentially act as a driver for future funding).
  • Be able to demonstrate ROI and economic impact - monitoring and evaluation will be built into the plan.
  • Build on existing knowledge and understanding of international visitors. The two key motivators for international visitors are heritage and culture (inc. sport); these themes will therefore feature prominently within any activity.

Activity will not:

  • Create a new Northern brand; there are however conversations about the pros and cons of incorporating the GREAT branding.
  • Create new structures or provide core funding for existing DMOs; however there is potential to provide additional project management capacity for delivery of the agreed programme (secondments for example).


  • 16 January – round table meeting provided a platform for Nick Clegg and the Tourism Minister, Helen Grant to launch the Fund.
  • 22 January workshop – two representatives from each destination across the North of England attended – to discuss and determine priorities, common themes and areas of alignment.
  • By 28 February – VisitEngland will create (in consultation with destination marketing organisations) and submit to the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, a high level proposal outlining how the fund should be managed and delivered.
  • April 2015 – March 2016 – international marketing activity to be delivered.

The NTA is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. Members of the NTA include NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism (representing Northumberland County Council), Visit County Durham, The North East Hotels Association and local authorities South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.

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United Airlines tickets on sale

Tickets are now on sale for Newcastle Airport’s new service to and from New York. Flights operate five times a week between Saturday 23 May and Monday 7 September 2015.

The route is flown using a Boeing 757 aircraft (16 Business and 153 Economy seats) with state-of-the-art entertainment available at every seat.

United’s service does not just stop at New York, passengers are able to connect onward with the benefit of a through fare to over 300 cities across the Americas with United Airlines and United Express.

Flight facts

Dates: Flights will operate from 23 May – 7 September 2015.













Newcastle (NCL)

New York (EWR)





New York (EWR)

Newcastle (NCL)





To book your trip to New York and beyond please visit

To catch up on the latest deals and offers available from Newcastle Airport please sign up for their newsletter

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Festival of Rugby launched

England Rugby 2015 and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) last week launched ‘Festival of Rugby 2015’, a new programme enabling events across the UK to celebrate rugby’s biggest year.

The Festival of Rugby provides clubs, schools, community groups, organisers of sporting events and the wider nation with the opportunity to take part in the celebration of rugby in 2015 and create a true festival feel across the UK. 

The Festival of Rugby is open to any event hosted between 10 June and 31 October 2015 that includes a rugby theme or element; this can be as simple as a link to a rugby team, song, through catering, visuals or cultural elements of the game.

From bake sales to national sporting events, everyone across the country is invited to join in by registering their existing event or creating an event to be part of the programme. The new dedicated website will also allow people to locate and attend events in their area with a postcode search feature launching later this year.

All events registered as part of the Festival of Rugby 2015 will have access to the Festival of Rugby brand enabling them to produce items including bunting, t-shirts and promotional tools to use at their events. Each event will also have access to their own event page at, helping to increase awareness and reach of their event.

England Rugby 2015 chief executive, Debbie Jevans, said: “The Festival of Rugby 2015 aims to create a true festival feeling across the UK by offering the opportunity for national, local, community and individual events to be part of rugby’s biggest year. Events hosted across the UK between June 10 and October 31 2015 can be part of the Festival of Rugby, simply by registering through It’s completely free and gives organisers access to promotional support and the Festival of Rugby brand and creates opportunities for people across the country to get involved and locate local events in their area and join in.”

RFU rugby development director Steve Grainger said: "We are delighted to be supporting and promoting the Festival of Rugby 2015 and look forward to engaging thousands of people across the country in rugby related activities. Whether it's a playing opportunity for youngsters at a local community centre, a rugby themed music festival at a school or an exhibition of rugby artwork, the Festival of Rugby will demonstrate what a truly inclusive sport rugby union is and will showcase the values of our sport. We’re looking forward to seeing a wide range of projects in the festival, with the rugby family reaching out to more communities to welcome many more potential players, spectators and followers to our great game.”

World Rugby chairman, Bernard Lapasset, added: “We are really excited about this initiative that will create a truly nationwide festival of rugby during 2015. Sport is all about inclusivity, teamwork and having fun and I am sure that through a diverse range of events, the Festival of Rugby will create a fantastic feel-good atmosphere across the UK and inspire new audiences to engage and feel a part of what will be a very special and record-breaking year of rugby.”

A number of events have already registered their interest in the Festival of Rugby 2015, including the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge at the Copper Box Arena at the Olympic Park, the massed performance of The Armed Man run by the Voices for Hospices Choir in Kempton Park, and Wallingford RFC Rugfest 2015. These highlight the broad range and genre of events that will feature in the programme, in line with the festival’s aim to spread the celebration of rugby far and wide in 2015.

Event organisers can register their interest and find out more at Next month event organisers will be able to apply to be part of the Festival of Rugby through the online application system.

For further details, including how to apply, go to

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