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Survey sheds light on delegate satisfaction

17th September 2010

Categories: Convention Bureau News

NewcastleGateshead’s legendary welcome has resulted in ‘friendly’ hitting the top spot for words used by conference delegates to describe their visit to NewcastleGateshead; ‘interesting’ and ‘historic’ followed suit with one delegate even using the phrase ‘Creme de North’.

The region’s vibrant and diverse conference offer has been a huge hit with delegates as shown by research conducted by NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau - the team tasked with bringing major conferences to the ‘twin cities’.

A survey was issued to delegates who booked accommodation through the online bookings system managed by the Bureau, covering the period from April 2010 to August 2010, and showed delegate satisfaction to be high with 99% rating their conference venue as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

Simon Mills, VisitBritain's new head of business visits and events, said: “Delegate satisfaction is key to driving more conference visitors to Britain and such positive delegate feedback for NewcastleGateshead is great news, not only for the destination and Convention Bureau, but also for the whole of the British conference industry.”

North East England’s rich history and heritage has proven to be a hugely important factor for delegates with conference social programmes frequently including trips to two UNESCO World Heritage sites at Hadrian’s Wall and Durham Castle & Cathedral, while NewcastleGateshead’s compact and walkable city centre is also popular, ensuring delegates can get a real feel for the city between meetings and seminars.

The power of conferences to attract new visitors to the region was reinforced with 76% of delegates travelling to NewcastleGateshead for the first time. When they get here, delegates are clearly impressed with 86% likely to return for a city break in future.

International delegate numbers increased by 11% during this time, compared with the survey two years ago, illustrating the positive impact of winning major bids for international conference business, with recent successes including two high-profile international meetings the Royal College of Nursing International Research Conference and the Obstetric Anaesthetists Association conference alone, bringing in hundreds of visitors from overseas.

Jessica Roberts, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “These findings are hugely positive. The opportunity to influence a growing new audience of first-time business visitors travelling from all over the world to major conferences here, who see the destination’s beauty and top-rate venues, cannot be overestimated. The propensity for business tourists to return on leisure breaks is also a massive boost for hotels, restaurants and other attractions based throughout the ‘twin cities’.

“A high-level of delegate satisfaction is paramount to attracting new conferences and has such a significant impact on not only the local economy and jobs – with the conference industry now worth almost £240m, creating 5,700 jobs - but also the wider UK business tourism landscape too.”

Almost all (95%) delegate respondents said the destination was easy to get round, while 17% more delegates used the Metro rail system as their most frequent form of transport. Amongst other key survey highlights was the destination’s accessibility from overseas, with more than 50% of delegates from outside of Europe saying they found NewcastleGateshead ‘very easy’ to get to and almost 90% of European delegates indicating NewcastleGateshead  was either ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’ to get to.

Ends

Media Enquiries

Shelley Staines, Media and PR Manager, NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau
shelley.staines@ngi.org.uk  0191 440 5739/07717 631 109

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 visitors to NewcastleGateshead from around the UK and overseas contribute £1.23bn to the local economy.
• Press releases and copyright-free hi-res images on NewcastleGateshead are available from our website www.newcastlegateshead.com 

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