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News Article Search

Business tourism brings in £238m and supports 5,700 jobs

24th May 2010

Categories: Convention Bureau News

Business tourism brings in £238m and supports 5,700 jobs

As NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau prepares to attend IMEX – the leading international exhibition for meetings – new research reveals business tourism pumped almost £240m into the local economy and helped create 5,700 jobs, in 2008/2009.

Research established that NewcastleGateshead represented 63% of all gross business tourism value in North East England (which was £378m in total) and benefitted 7,661 employees in the ‘twin cities’.

An estimated 1.6 million conference delegates descended on NewcastleGateshead in 2008/2009, accounting for 57% of the total number of delegates visiting the entire region and underlining the pivotal role NewcastleGateshead plays in supporting business tourism regionwide.

The research was conducted by a joint specialist consultancy team supported by NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau - the team tasked with attracting conferences to the destination – and commissioned by One North East. Previous estimates of the value of business tourism to the region indicated around £100m; with the new research depicting a much greater impact for the destination.

Tribal, a leading provider of professional services to the public sector, and TEAM, an international consultancy specialising in strategic and operational planning for tourism destinations, undertook the research project. A blend of qualitative and quantitative research, National Statistics and venue audits based on the UK Event Market Trends Survey were incorporated into the study.

In the space of the last fortnight NewcastleGateshead has seen more than a million leaders and delegates from across the world visit the region for both The Royal College of Nursing Annual International Nursing Research Conference and The Obstetric Anaesthetists' Association convention, injecting over £1m into the regional economy. NewcastleGateshead has also secured the Liberal Democrat conference for 2012 and completed a hat-trick of political party wins having hosted both Labour and the Conservative conferences.

Jessica Roberts, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “The news is extremely positive particularly as we prepare for IMEX in Frankfurt alongside the national tourism agency VisitBritain. In these more uncertain economic and political times, this new and robust research underlines the importance of this sector to NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding area. Major national and international conferences are not only a great way of profiling a destination, but this research shows that they deliver real tangible economic benefits, not just in NewcastleGateshead’s hotels and venues, but also for the many businesses throughout the region that supply this sector.

“With further investment and improved infrastructure, business tourism can play an even greater role in the region’s economic prosperity. Our present lack of large-scale, flat-floor exhibition space means bigger conventions are sometimes turned away. Establishing an international conference and exhibition centre in NewcastleGateshead would be a great economic driver for the region and also for Britain.”

Nathan Alemany, Manager eventBritain, said: “NewcastleGateshead has consolidated its position as a major UK and international meetings hub, excelling particularly in international ‘Association’-based conventions in medicine and science. Although this research provides good news for the destination and wider UK, it’s perhaps not so shocking that conferencing in NewcastleGateshead is so valuable when you think that thousands of delegates, speakers and opinion formers from across the world come to meet, debate, dine, explore and stay in NewcastleGateshead over the year.”

Damon Roberts, chair of North East Hotels Association, said: “Hotels across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region benefit enormously from business tourism and particularly the international-based conferences that choose our destination. Often hundreds of international delegates come to participate in conference debates and forums staying two or three nights in the ‘twin cities’. Many are first-time visitors and often return as leisure visitors with their families to further explore the beautiful region.”

Sarah Green, CBI Regional Director said: “North East England benefits hugely from the wide range of major conferences NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau helps attract to the ‘twin cities’ and wider region. The importance of business tourism and the rewards for the North East both economically and intellectually are significant.”

The project was supported by the four sub-regional Area Tourism Partnerships including Visit TeesValley, Visit County Durham, Tourism Tyne and Wear and Northumberland Tourism.


Examples of some medical, science and engineering conferences from 2008/2009

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, Nov 2009
National Pain Management Programme Conference 2009, Sep 2009
Society for Social Medicine, Sep 2009
Multiple Sclerosis Society, Jun 2009
British Trauma Society, May 2009
Conference of the Consultant Orthodontists Group, Mar 2009

National Point of Contact Ultrasound Conference, Nov 2008
International Society for Priorities in Healthcare, Oct 2008
International Nanoindentation Conference, Jul 2008
British Society for Parasitology, Apr 2008
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mar 2008

For further information:

David Bootle, Media and PR Manager – Business, NewcastleGateshead Initiative
Tel: 0191 4405741, Mob: 07766993925 or email

Notes to Editors

• NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) is the destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead. Its mission is to position and promote NewcastleGateshead as a leading European destination for leisure and business visitors through cultural programming, event bidding and high-profile, targeted destination marketing and PR activity.  Created in 2000 by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council as a publicly and privately funded business, NGI 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.
• NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau uses local knowledge and expertise to help organise conferences, meetings or events in NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding area. It provides a free service including arranging everything from venue sourcing and booking, to accommodation, transport and entertainment for delegates. With a huge choice of state-of-the-art venues NewcastleGateshead is fast becoming one of the UK’s most popular destinations whether it’s for a meeting of 10 people or a conference for thousands.
• It is estimated that all visitors to NewcastleGateshead from around the UK and overseas contribute £1.2bn to the local economy.
• Press releases and copyright-free hi-res images on NewcastleGateshead are available from our website
• IMEX takes place in Frankfurt from 25-27 May and is the essential worldwide exhibition for meetings and incentive travel. For further information visit:


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