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Industry News March 2012

Fashion week is back

Get out your diaries as NE1’s Newcastle Fashion Week is back - this year for nine fashion-fuelled days, including one mega Fashion Weekend from 26 May – 3 June 2012.

NE1 has announced a newly extended programme for Newcastle Fashion Week 2012 with Newcastle Fashion Weekend which promises to be the biggest fashion and shopping event of the year in Newcastle, the fashion capital of the North.

NE1 is promising that Newcastle Fashion Week 2012 will be bigger and better than last year and promises to put Newcastle Fashion Week on the world map and cement the city’s reputation as the fashion capital of the North. A packed programme of events and activities is currently being formulated including premier catwalk shows, VIP shopping events, industry talks from fashion’s finest and exclusive after-show parties hosted at venues across the city.

Proceedings kick off on Saturday 26 May at 12 noon when the iconic Grey’s Monument becomes the venue for two catwalk shows – the first a showcase of design talent from Newcastle College, the second called ‘Work It’ providing inspiration on how to dress for success with a showcase of outfits that are ideal for what to wear to the office and for interviews.

Last year’s inaugural event set the bar high with the Black Eyed Peas tipping up at the official launch party at Tup Tup Palace and Will I Am tweeting from the venue; Wayne Hemingway, Scott Henshall and celebrity hair stylist, Lee Stafford all played a part in the fashion fiesta with presentations, demonstrations and media appearances. The event went global when Fashion TV broadcast its catwalk show as part of the festivities. Fashion TV is back at Tup Tup Palace on Sunday 3 June for its own exclusive catwalk show.

For 2012 there will be more Newcastle Fashion Week merchandise on offer including the commemorative T-shirts, which last year were designed by Scott Henshall and sold exclusively through Fenwick. The T-shirts and matching Newcastle Fashion Week pants sold out more than two weeks before the event kicked off raising thousands of pounds for charity. This year, snap up one of the limited edition ‘Love Bullets’ Newcastle Fashion Week 2012 necklaces available exclusively from Fenwick. Love Bullets are the must-have pendants favoured by the celebrity crowd including Cheryl Cole, Lily Allen, Dizzee Rascal and many more.

To keep up to date with what’s on and when during Newcastle Fashion Week 2012 sign up to

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East Coast passenger information campaign wins top award

Train operator East Coast has won a public relations award for its campaign to keep passengers informed via the media during the ‘big freeze’ of 2010.
The company’s communications team was awarded the ‘Freshest Issue or Crisis Management’ prize at the prestigious Fresh Awards in Manchester last week.

The awards recognise creativity and innovation in public relations outside London. East Coast’s communications team is based at the company’s headquarters in York.

East Coast’s winning entry featured its response to the severe weather which gripped much of the UK in December 2010. Media interviews and comment from the train operator reached an audience of 88 million throughout Britain and beyond, including viewers and listeners in Australia, the United States and Canada.

East Coast communications director, Paul Emberley, said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious award, which recognises the speedy response and exceptional effort put in by East Coast’s communicators to get our message across that we were keeping Britain moving during the big freeze.

“Within 90 minutes of the start of major disruption on the evening of Sunday 19 December, we were live on national television to explain alternative travel options – and when services resumed throughout the route, a live report on BBC1 from York station showed East Coast trains getting people home for Christmas in front of an audience of millions.”

The worst winter for 30 years saw temperatures plunge below a perishing -20 degrees C, affecting all transport – road, rail and air. Flights were grounded, passengers slept in airport departure lounges, and driving conditions were atrocious with many roads impassable.

Railways too were not immune, with ice and snow damaging Network Rail’s overhead power lines at two locations south of Peterborough, delaying services. East Coast’s then Chairman, Elaine Holt, joined directors at London King’s Cross and Peterborough stations to explain what was being done to keep customers informed, and to work side by side with station and on-train staff to help reassure passengers.

As well as via the media, East Coast used many other outlets to get information to passengers, including its website,, on-station electronic displays and posters, and special audio announcements on both stations and trains to give frequent travel news updates.

East Coast now uses its own dedicated Twitter feed, @eastcoastuk, to communicate the latest information on its services to a growing audience. The service has already attracted almost 3,000 followers since its launch in September 2011.


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Top award for taxi hero Alan

VisitEngland teamed up with the Daily Mirror to find the country’s unsung travel industry hero, with EastCoast Tour's Alan Fidler scooping the prestigious national award.

As part of English Tourism Week 2012, VisitEngland and the Daily Mirror asked locals and businesses alike to nominate their Tourism Superstar. This could be anyone from a volunteer guide, a shop employee or a taxi driver, to a hotel receptionist or a waiter. Someone who made breaks in England extra special, a person who went above and beyond the call of duty and was a real ambassador for the local area.
Alan Fidler from EastCoast Tours was unveiled as the national winner in the Daily Mirror on 10 March and will receive the award at the annual VisitEngland Awards for Excellence gala dinner in May.

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, said: “The overall standard of nominees to the competition was very high, and we would like to congratulate Alan Fidler on his well-deserved win. We were delighted with the sheer range of entries; it is clear that there are unsung tourism heroes in every corner of the country who are passionate about promoting their local area and who are working hard, often voluntarily, to ensure that visitors are made to feel extra special. And what better time to celebrate them than in English Tourism Week? Hardworking taxi drivers like Alan can make a real difference to those visiting their local area .

“Whether they’re offering a particularly warm and friendly welcome, or recommending a favourite restaurant or ‘must-see’ attraction, they are in a perfect position to promote everything that is great about tourism in England”.

Paul Szomoru, business development manager at destination marketing and management agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Alan is a deserving winner – he’s a one-man tourism powerhouse and a truly passionate ambassador for all that is great about NewcastleGateshead and North East England.

“Having spotted a gap in the market, Alan developed EastCoast Tours as a successful arm of local taxi firm EastCoast Taxis and regularly provides tours for international visitors arriving with DFDS into the Port of Tyne. It’s not just a job for Alan though, he’s genuinely enthusiastic about our many great destinations and attractions.

“With a passion for local history, he shares his impressive knowledge and little-known facts and stories to both inform and excite visitors. We regularly hear anecdotes of visitors who have been completely surprised and delighted by their experience and who visit the area again as a result – and those are the people who depart as newly converted ambassadors in their own right.

“He’s also a champion for our work to ensure that customer-facing employees across the area are providing the best possible service to visitors by helping to promote ‘Welcome to NewcastleGateshead’ destination training. He’s a real inspiration and a great example of what can be achieved by someone with a passion for tourism and great sense of pride in his own region.”

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Local leaders being sought

If you want to celebrate the London 2012 and Paralympic Games, sign up for Local Leaders, which is aimed at individuals and organisations who are excited about the Games.

If you want to plan a celebration for the Games – whether it’s for your whole company or just for a few friends – then sign up to be a Local Leader. Local Leaders create their own events, which can be uploaded to the website, or get involved with some of the ideas that communities across the UK have suggested.

When you sign up, you get ideas and resources to help you to plan your celebration. Some of the ideas on the website at the moment include ‘Garden for Games’, with ideas for planting red, white and blue window boxes, or choosing another team to support and planting in their colours; ‘Line the Streets’, with ideas on how to support the Torch Relay as it comes past your house, community or organisation; or ‘Sports Quiz’, with ideas on how to plan and enjoy a ‘Question of Sport’-type event for a team-bonding exercise or company night out.

Check out the website to see more about these ideas, and some of the other suggestions for planning your Games-time fun, and to sign up for newsletters to receive exclusive offers, ideas and planning packs.

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Holiday in the UK launch

VisitEngland, the national tourist board together with the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture Media, Sport and the Olympics, last week launched ‘Holidays at Home are GREAT’. It is the biggest ever domestic tourism campaign aimed at boosting tourism throughout the UK.

Stephen Fry, Julie Walters, Rupert Grint and Michelle Dockery star in the exciting new TV advert which aired for the first time on 8 March. The TV ad encourages viewers to visit, a website where consumers can take advantage of thousands of special deals offering 20.12% off or more, and other great offers, on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, events and transport, with many of NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s partners having contributed. The launch was hosted at one of the most iconic tourist attractions in the capital, the EDF Energy London Eye in association with the Merlin Entertainments Group, a key partner in the campaign.

The campaign, led by VisitEngland, and supported by the home nation tourist boards of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; will showcase the country and highlight the key events taking place including the Torch Relay, the Cultural Festival and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The £5m campaign is aimed at inspiring UK residents to take a holiday at home during this unprecedented year and mitigate against a potential Olympic sag in the domestic market.

The campaign includes 2.5 million accommodation nights and has been supported by hundreds of tourism businesses up and down the country including national hotel chains: De Vere, Marriott, Travelodge, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels; Hoseasons Group, Bourne Leisure, and Accor to name a few. Attractions giant, Merlin is offering 25% off on their Annual Pass and other attractions such as The Eden Project, Chatsworth House and The National Maritime Museum are on board offering fantastic experiences at 20.12% off. Thomas Cook, is also participating with some great value offers for UK breaks.

Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt said: “2012 is going to be a year like no other in our history with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics. With so much going on, this is the perfect time to make the most of the UK and take your holiday, long weekend or short break here. The 20.12% campaign has got thousands of fantastic offers to make holidaying at home affordable this year and the advert really does show off what’s great about the UK.”

James Berresford, VisitEngland’s chief executive said: “This is the largest domestic tourism campaign ever undertaken and aims to inspire UK residents to take advantage of the fantastic events taking place in the country this year. We have thousands of offers up and down the country which means a family can enjoy great deals on accommodation, meals, and tickets to attractions at very affordable prices. Now is the time to holiday at home – there is no comparison anywhere else in the world with what’s on offer here in the UK this year.”

In addition to the main advertisement, a series of additional 10-second destination adverts will be aired. In return for £100,000, to be match funded by VisitEngland, Blackpool, Skegness, Yorkshire, Liverpool, will be showcased as part of the campaign.

The Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign is part of VisitEngland’s three-year marketing strategy worth £24m. The overall marketing programme seeks to generate an additional 5.3 million short-break nights in England with an incremental spend of £480m by 2015.

We’ll also be working to integrate the online deals into our own marketing and communications campaigns including:
o Targeted offers in our monthly e-mails (database of approx. 100k).
o Promotion of timely offers in our spring and autumn national campaigns and international activity in Holland, Ireland and Norway.
o Used as part of our national and local PR activity.
o Given daily coverage on our social networks including our blog, Facebook and Twitter platforms.

Offers can be submitted to appear on and the VisitEngland website, to find out more contact Steven Gibson

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Silver success for Bureau team

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau won silver for ‘Best UK Convention Bureau’ at the recent Meetings and Incentive Travel Industry Awards 2012. The award was accepted by the team’s new senior manager, Adrian Evans at the prestigious awards during a gala dinner at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London.

The M&IT awards event brings together key sectors of the meetings industry to measure excellence of service and products with the event also providing the opportunity to raise vital funds for Save the Children. It is the standout calendar event in the year for the industry to come together from around the world and celebrate success.

The winners were selected by a panel of independent expert judges appointed by M&IT. Adrian Evans, NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau senior manager, said: “It is great to be recognised for our professionalism and performance by our peers. We have just launched our brand-new conference guide, which scooped a gold award in its previous guise and a new video focusing on the vital role Convention Bureaux play across the UK and world – an ideal tool to aid event organisers. The team is constantly striving for excellence and we are delighted that this national award recognizes those efforts.”

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau helps bring major events and conferences to the region and the recent Liberal Democrats Spring Conference is just one example of this, with an estimated economic impact for the area of up to £1m as well as the immeasurable media profile an event of this nature brings.

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Industry News February 2012
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