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News Article Search

Business boosting convention bureau hunts for new head

12th October 2011

Categories: Convention Bureau News

As the conference and events industry in NewcastleGateshead continues to thrive despite the recession, NewcastleGateshead Initiative has begun the hunt for someone to drive forward its successful convention bureau team following the announcement that head of business tourism, Jessica Roberts, will leave at the end of the year.

Jessica has led the team for four years during which time the convention bureau has secured a string of high profile conferences and major events, bringing an estimated £5.5m economic boost to the area.

Leaving to pursue new opportunities with her partner in Australia, Jessica has been a valued member of the team at destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative since 2001 and over the past 10 years has enjoyed a number of key roles within the organisation before moving to her latest position at the helm of the award-winning NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau.

The convention bureau promotes NewcastleGateshead as a leading UK conference city by targeting high impact business events, providing a range of services to conference organisers and though the delivery of targeted sales, marketing and communications activity. 

With excellent accessibility, a huge choice of state-of-the-art venues and spectacular city backdrop, NewcastleGateshead has fast become one of the UK’s most popular destinations with the convention bureau playing a key role in securing significant events such as the 2005 Meeting of the EU Ministers for Justice & Home Affairs, the British Council for Shopping Centres annual conference and the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats spring conferences, as well as a host of national and international medical and scientific congresses. 

NewcastleGateshead Initiative chief executive, Sarah Stewart, said: “We are extremely sorry to see Jessica leave – her knowledge, expertise, contacts and sheer enthusiasm and drive will all be greatly missed, but we wish her all the best in her new adventures.

“The hunt now begins for Jessica’s replacement; we’re looking for a really exceptional individual who can now lead the convention bureau team, maximise business for NewcastleGateshead and represent the destination in the MICE sector locally, nationally and internationally.” 

Among many other achievements, Jessica oversaw the launch of the bureau’s successful Conference Ambassador Programme in late 2003, which has been instrumental in securing conferences for organisations as diverse as the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and the International Colour Association, helping to raise NewcastleGateshead’s profile as a leading destination for association sector congresses. 

The 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. 

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau has won numerous awards, including North East England Tourism Awards (gold award for business tourism in 2007), the M&IT Industry Awards (silver award for Best UK Convention Bureau in 2010) and the Meetings Industry Marketing Awards (gold award for Best Destination Guide in 2010).

Commenting on her role and the bureau team, Jessica Roberts said: “I feel really privileged to have held this role which I genuinely believe is one of the most exciting and inspiring in the business tourism sector. It has been a pleasure to work with so many brilliant people in my 10 years at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, both within our own team, at the venues, hotels and suppliers we work with and so many industry contacts and clients. 

“This is a really exciting time in the development of NewcastleGateshead and I have no doubt that it is going to continue to go from strength to strength.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the business tourism job vacancy should contact Anne Howes,

For more information about Newcastle Convention Bureau and its work see


For media enquiries contact:
Shelley Armstrong
Media & PR Manager
T. +44 (0)191 440 5739
M. +44 (0)771 763 1109


Kathie Wilcox
Senior Marketing and Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)191 440 5742,
M. +44 (0)7766 993925

Notes to editors
NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council, working with around 165 private sector member organisations across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region.

All of our activity aims to promote and position NewcastleGateshead as a world-class vibrant tourism destination, through targeted marketing and PR campaigns nationally and internationally and through the work of our cultural programming team and convention bureau.

NewcastleGateshead Initiative is supported by a board offering expertise from a range of sectors and professions. We also work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and businesses, who share our ambition to promote NewcastleGateshead as a world-class place in which to live, learn, work, and visit.

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau’s mission is to position and promote NewcastleGateshead as a leading European destination for leisure and business visitors through event bidding and high-profile, targeted destination marketing and PR activity. 

United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. World-class culture, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are combined here like nowhere else, by the famous Geordie spirit which is symbolised by Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North as it welcomes travellers to the area.

Imagery / photography opportunities: - NewcastleGateshead’s Initiative’s extensive royalty free image library

Useful links: - NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s media website - business meeting and event specific website for NewcastleGateshead


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