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Our Update

City scores on worldwide stage

After years of preparation, Rugby World Cup 2015 finally arrived in the Host City of Newcastle last month, bringing with it international fans from around the world and a global audience of millions. Our job, working closely with Newcastle City Council, was to make the most of every opportunity and to maximise all of the benefits of the Tournament coming to town - from our work with national and international media to secure positive coverage for the destination to the delivery of Conversion, an innovative festival which really brought the city to life.

Our marketing team also delivered significant pre-event campaign activity to attract national and international visitors and to encourage longer stays in the region. And our convention bureau team promoted the tourism offer of the region to overseas travel agents, tour operators and corporate incentive organisers, and helped them secure all of their accommodation, dining and activity requirements. 

In addition, our inward investment team developed a very special familiarisation visit programme around RWC2015 to profile Science Central and other key investment sites and opportunities across the city; they secured and hosted 17 potential investors who also got to enjoy the New Zealand v Tonga match at St James’ Park.

The Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s biggest sporting events and, as such, provided a fantastic platform to raise the profile of the area, change perceptions, attract visitors and bring an economic boost. During the Tournament, hotel occupancy in NewcastleGateshead hit 99% and the wider visitor economy – bars, restaurants and attractions – across the region felt the benefit of the visiting fans.

Images of Newcastle, Gateshead and the wider region have been screened to a global audience and feedback from fans, media, travel agents, investors, visitors and local people alike has been hugely positive. The effects of hosting Rugby World Cup 2015 are likely to be felt for years to come and, through our ongoing activity to market the area, we’ll continue to build on this momentum.

“I think it’s fair to say Rugby World Cup 2015 in Newcastle has been a huge success. From the matches themselves to the atmosphere inside the Fanzone, we’ve had a remarkable two weekends. The experience of the Tournament and being a Host City has only reinforced our commitment to bring more major culture and sporting events to NewcastleGateshead.”
Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive

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Record-breaking Tourism Awards

Final preparations are underway for the North East England Tourism Awards ceremony, which takes place next week (24 November) at Newcastle Civic Centre. Playing a major role in showcasing the range of high quality tourism businesses and experiences on offer to visitors across the North East, the event continues to grow each year. Organised and delivered by our team - in partnership with Northern Tourism Alliance colleagues - entries have increased by over 70% in the last four years, making the 2015 Awards the biggest to date.

Sarah Stewart, our Chief Executive, said “It’s fantastic to see so many entries this year. The quantity and quality of the applications not only demonstrates the variety of tourism businesses and attractions across the North East, offering visitors an unforgettable experience, it’s also a testament to our thriving visitor economy.

“Tourism businesses employ more than 55,000 people across the North East with an additional 730 jobs created over the last 12 months.”

Sarah added: “It’s always a joy to see the outstanding work the finalists have delivered and I look forward to celebrating all of their achievements with them at the awards ceremony in November.”

58 applications made this year’s shortlist from a wide range of tourism businesses across Country Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

Newcastle College joins Northumbria Water as headline sponsors for this year’s record breaking Awards.

The results will be announced at the glittering celebration at Newcastle Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall, hosted by BBC Radio Newcastle breakfast show presenter, Alfie Joey.

The Northern Tourism Alliance, which works together to make the Awards happen each year, is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies. The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, and the North East Hotels Association. The Awards are also supported by Northumberland County Council, South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council.

The full 2015 Shortlist:

Access for All
•           Calvert Trust, Kielder
•           Sage Gateshead & GOTH
•           Newcastle United Football Club/Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events
•           The Hog’s Head Inn

Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year
•           Martineau Guest House
•           St Cuthbert’s House
•           The Old Manse
•           The Old Post Office, Lanchester

Business Tourism Award
•           Event Durham, Durham University
•           Seaham Hall
•           Newcastle United Football Club/Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events

Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year
•           Doe Park Caravan Site
•           Leaplish Waterside Park – Northumbrian Water
•           Springhouse Country Park

Large Hotel of the Year
•           Jurys Inn Newcastle
•           Village Urban Resort Newcastle
•           Rockliffe Hall
•           Hotel Indigo Newcastle

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year    
•           Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books
•           Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
•           Sage Gateshead
•           National Glass Centre

Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year
•           Springhill Farm Holiday Accommodation
•           Hesleyside Huts
•           Blacksmith’s Cottage
•           Calvert Trust, Kielder

Small Hotel of the Year
•           Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa
•           Seaham Hall
•           The Morritt Country House Hotel & Spa
•           Newton Hall

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
•           Oriental Museum
•           Auckland Castle
•           WWT Washington Wetland Centre
•           Kielder Observatory

Sustainable Tourism Award
•           St Cuthbert’s House
•           Durham University
•           Sage Gateshead
•           Slate & Nature

Taste of England Award
•           Northumberland Cheese Company
•           Zeera Indian Cuisine
•           The Orangery Restaurant at Rockliffe Hall
•           Martineau Guest House

Tourism Experience of the Year
•           Karting North East
•           The Cycle HUB
•           Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, Durham University
•           Hall Hill Farm

Tourism Pub of the Year
•           Angel of Corbridge
•           The Bridge Tavern
•           The Bamburgh Castle Inn
•           The Staith House

Visitor Information provider of the Year
•           Durham Pointers
•           Morpeth Tourist Information & Craft Centre
•           Berwick upon Tweed Tourist Information Centre
•           North Shields Tourist Information Centre

Tourism Event of the Year  
•           Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt, Durham University
•           Northumberland County Show
•           Funfair, Sage Gateshead
•           Festival of Thrift

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£800k boost from conference wins

Our convention bureau has helped to bring a host of medical and health conferences to NewcastleGateshead this autumn, which will inject more than £800k into the local economy and help to showcase the region’s excellence within the sector. The largest of these is the
International Society of Paediatric Oncology and European Neuroblastoma Group’s (SIOPEN) Annual General Meeting and 4th Neuroblastoma Research Symposium, which will bring 200 delegates for a range of meetings, workshops and talks over the four-day event at Crowne Plaza Newcastle - Stephenson Quarter in November.

In addition attendees will enjoy a drinks reception at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and a conference dinner within the Great North Museum Hancock.

Professor Deborah Tweddle, Professor of Paediatric Oncology at Newcastle University and Chair of the local organising committee for the conference said: “The local organising committee are extremely grateful to the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau for their help and expertise arranging this meeting.

“Newcastle University has a long standing history of internationally renowned neuroblastoma research having made major advances in the genetics and treatment of this aggressive childhood cancer over the last 20 years.

“With support from the Conventional Bureau we are poised to host one of the largest European clinical neuroblastoma meetings to date, followed by a state-of-the-art research meeting supported by the charity Neuroblastoma UK. Clinicians and scientists will interact and present their research findings with the overall aim of improving the outlook for all patients with neuroblastoma whether they are being treated here in Newcastle, elsewhere in the UK or around the world.”

November also sees 150 delegates descend on the city for the Society for Intravenous Anaesthesia UK (SIVA UK) Annual Scientific Meeting at Newcastle Civic Centre. Combined with SIOPEN the two conferences will pump over £400,000 into the local economy.

Paul Szomoru, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “Our Convention Bureau is intrinsically linked with the inward investment team, focusing on our three key sectors of strong economic growth and academic excellence; Science & Healthcare, Creative & Digital and, Marine & Offshore. In addition the team has an excellent relationship with the various institutions where this industry leading research is taking place. We seek to thread together the key academics, researchers, influencers and conference organisers, supporting in the creation of outstanding conferences and events.

“Pioneering scientific studies, particularly in the fields of genetics and fertility treatment takes place the International Centre for Life. With the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA), the largest research facility of its kind in Europe, NewcastleGateshead is at the leading edge of revolutionary scientific research.”

The destination’s excellence within this sector attracts a wide range of science and healthcare conferences to the region. In October NewcastleGateshead also welcomed the 6th Annual Alliance for Healthy Aging, hosted by NUIA, and the British Association for Cancer Research’s Breast Cancer Conference who together provided an additional £400,000 boost to the local economy.

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau helps to attract and secure major national and international conferences and events for the region, working with a wide range of venues and partners. The Convention Bureau team acts as a central point of contact for all conference organisers, providing free, impartial advice and unrivalled local knowledge.

Tech company chooses Newcastle

Tidy, a New Zealand company providing cloud-based software solutions which has chosen Newcastle as its European headquarters - is the latest in a line of tech companies that our inward investment team has helped to bring to the city. Newcastle beat off stiff competition from London, Manchester and Leeds. Kevin Mann, CEO of Tidy, chose The Core, located on Science Central, to open his first European office. The growing number of creative, digital and tech companies choosing to locate here reinforces the city’s burgeoning reputation as a leading tech hub.

Newcastle Science Central is home to The Cloud Innovation Centre, housed within The Core, a co-locating space helping to foster partnerships between researchers, industry and the public sector – a natural fit for companies within the sector.

“Locating in Newcastle was an easy choice to make” said Kevin, “the city has a buzzing creative and digital community, with global software giants such as Sage Group plc headquartered in the city and fantastic reliable transport links both nationally and internationally. In terms of convenience and culture the city has everything we were looking for.

“The support for business in the city is second to none. Newcastle City Council’s backing and tight bond with businesses did not go unnoticed when considering where to locate. The team at Invest Newcastle also went above and beyond, not only showing us office space options and helping us to recruit but also introducing us to key contacts in the city helping to establish us in the tech community. The fact that Newcastle is a centre of excellence for Building Information Management and RIBA Enterprises has its UK base in the city added to the appeal.

“With Newcastle’s vibrancy, cultural buzz, friendly atmosphere and sporting culture I know that my team would be happy living or relocating here. It is a clean city with fantastic architecture and it has all the conveniences of London; everything you need is just closer. It's a motivating place when I am working in the office here. We are excited to be in Newcastle and look forward to the journey ahead.”

The ambitious global company, aiming to create 20 new jobs in Newcastle within the next three years, follows a string of Australasian companies, including Spotlight Reporting and Panalitix, choosing Newcastle as a base.

Newcastle, recognised for its thriving Creative & Digital sector, encompasses successful start-ups and global companies, which work with some of the biggest international names around. Over £12.5m has been invested in Newcastle’s digital infrastructure supporting the 2,800 creative and digital businesses across the North East employing approximately 27,000 people.

Catherine Walker, Inward Investment Director at Invest Newcastle, said: “We are delighted to welcome Tidy to the city. Being chosen above cities such as London and Manchester is a testament to the city’s competitive offering including our strong technology sector and acclaimed excellence in academia and research.

“We have an ambition to be internationally recognised as one of the top five cities in digital and technology by 2020. Our strategy focuses on attracting companies within this sector to further develop the international reputation of our city as a tech hub.”

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Record numbers for Enchanted Parks

Enchanted Parks, which is developed and commissioned by our culture team in partnership with Gateshead Council, celebrates its tenth year in December, with 16 new artwork commissions as part of a magical light trail across Saltwell Park. The event has grown in popularity and last month the initial 22,000 tickets sold out in a record-breaking three days. A second limited allocation of tickets for slots from 7pm onwards across all days (Wed 9 - Sun 13 Dec) will go on sale on Wednesday 25 November at midday via our website.

This year’s Enchanted Parks has developed a ‘Wonderland’ theme with artists creating a dream-like world of flames, fantasy and magical surprises where nothing is quite as it seems.

Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, Councillor Gary Haley said:"Enchanted Parks is a special event in Gateshead and it is hugely popular. It brings great artistic ideas and installations together with our communities and the result is something that is quite unique to Gateshead. 

“There is something quite magical about being in Saltwell Park after dark and it’s great so many people can come along and enjoy such an amazing spectacle. It’s the perfect introduction to the Christmas festivities.”

Carol Bell, head of culture and major events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “Celebrating ten years of Enchanted Parks is something we’re very proud of. The event has grown in popularity year on year and now it’s one of the region’s biggest festive events.
“More than 21,000 people visit Saltwell Park every year during Enchanted Parks to see installations and commissions from regional, national and international artists. Excitement is already building for this year’s event.

“We‘ve invited some of our favourite artists back to Enchanted Parks this year to celebrate the anniversary and bring more magic to Gateshead this winter.”

For more information about Enchanted Parks, visit, like the Facebook page or follow @WinterFestNG on Twitter.
Enchanted Parks is funded by Arts Council England and Gateshead Council.  It is developed and commissioned by NewcastleGateshead Initiative in partnership with Gateshead Council as part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s festivals and events programme.

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