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Visitor boost for hotel boom

28th October 2010

Categories: Latest News

As construction plans for four major new hotels in NewcastleGateshead proceed, new hotel occupancy figures reveal continued growth in demand.

Occupancy in NewcastleGateshead rose this summer, with June, July and August 2010 statistics showing an average of 78% of hotel rooms occupied in the city centre and quayside areas.

This figure represents a two per cent increase on the same summer period in 2009 and underlines NewcastleGateshead’s position as one of the best performing cities outside London, despite increasingly difficult economic times.

In addition, September 2010 saw an impressive 83% of the city centre and quayside hotel rooms occupied – the highest September occupancy rate for five years, a boost undoubtedly helped by the influx of visitors taking part in the 30th Great North Run

Hotels in the occupancy study include Malmaison Newcastle, Copthorne Hotel, County Hotel by Thistle, Premier Inn Newcastle City Centre, Jurys Inn Newcastle, and Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.

Sarah Stewart, interim chief executive at destination marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “This is a timely indication that despite the inevitable impact of the economic spending review, it’s not all doom and gloom.

“NewcastleGateshead is experiencing strong hotel occupancy figures and despite a less than temperate summer we have attracted a growing number of visitors to stay in the city – for short breaks, cultural and sporting events and to attend business meetings, events and conferences.

“As a result, the hotel sector is demonstrating a sense of optimism and renewed confidence in the area with the ongoing development of four major new venues, including a new Jurys Inn on Gateshead Quays, Sleeperz on Westgate Road, Hotel Indigo on Fenkle Street and Sandman Signature Hotel opposite St James’ Park.”

The 200-bed Jurys Inn on Gateshead Quays - the second of the chain to be built in NewcastleGateshead - is under construction now and due to open in September 2011.

Innovative budget hotels business Sleeperz has begun work on developing a 98-bedroom, six-storey hotel at the bottom of Westgate Road, close to the Newcastle Central Station.  Sleeperz is targeting an opening date of October 2011, with the new hotel creating around 25 full-time jobs in the city.

Meanwhile international developers won planning permission for the £20m Hotel Indigo in Newcastle city centre, with builders due to start work in January to have the venue finished for a grand opening by Christmas 2011. The famous Eagle Star House building, in Fenkle Street, was chosen as a prime city-centre location. The Hotel Indigo group, part of the world chain InterContinental Hotels, operates in Shanghai, China, New York and the Greek capital Athens.

The new 148-bed, four-star complex, next to Newcastle’s Assembly Rooms, is expected to create 80 jobs for local workers.

Canadian developer Northland Properties is behind the 170-room Sandman Signature Hotel which is
due to open in April 2011 on the site of the former home of Scottish & Newcastle breweries and is expected to create a further 150 jobs.

Mitch Gaglardi, Director at Northland Properties, said: “Looking to NewcastleGateshead as the first location outside of Canada to launch our brand demonstrates the tremendous confidence we have in the city and its future. NewcastleGateshead Initiative played an integral role in this decision by providing valuable information and positive support throughout the process.”

Newcastle City Council  has also just announced a proposal to invest up to £30m to enable a further key development, including two hotels, to move forward.

The council is supporting private sector partner Silverlink Developments in unlocking a scheme which will enable the redevelopment of the Stephenson Quarter to go ahead in a flagship city centre location. The Stephenson quarter is a 10-acre site next to Central Station with permission for the construction of a 251-bed four star plus hotel, 60 bed boutique hotel, business centre, exhibition space, commercial offices and 156 residential apartments.

Tourism figures released earlier this year showed that the visitor economy in NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding Tyne and Wear area had increased by a significant 3% in 2009 compared to 2008, bringing the economic value of tourism across the area to £2.03billion.

The results demonstrated that the area was responsible for a huge 52% of the North East’s visitor economy in 2009, and NewcastleGateshead accounted for 61% of that figure, or £1.23billion worth of visitor spend.


For further information contact:
Kathie Wilcox, Senior Media & PR Manager, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, T. +44 (0)191 440 5742
E., to Editors


• The occupancy figures are part of a hotel occupancy forecaster tool known as Lynn Jones Research, which provides data through analysis of occupancy levels and sales on books across a region’s hotel sector. The data covers nine hotels in Newcastle city centre and NewcastleGateshead quayside.

• Lynn Jones Research Ltd is a research company specialising in the travel and tourism sector with a particular focus on the accommodation sector and visitor/guest feedback surveys. The Lynn Jones forecaster is a management tool that provides data on the hotel sector in a particular destination across a range of performance indicators including: hotel occupancy levels, sales on the books, pick up reports and a summary of revenue analysis. Indicators can be recorded upon by region, sub region or zone.

• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead. Its mission is to position and promote NewcastleGateshead as a leading destination for leisure and business visitors through cultural programming, event bidding and high-profile, targeted destination marketing and PR activity.  Created in 2000 by Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council as a publicly and privately funded business, NewcastleGateshead Initiative has developed a strong brand for the area - promoting it nationally and internationally as a place at the forefront of innovative culture-led regeneration and a world-class place to live, learn, work and visit.

• It is estimated that visitors to NewcastleGateshead from around the UK and overseas contribute £1.23bn to the local economy.

• Press releases and copyright-free, hi-res images of NewcastleGateshead are available at


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