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NewcastleGateshead backs Confex for another year

22nd March 2011

Categories: Convention Bureau News

It may only be a few weeks since International Confex closed the doors on its 2011 event at Earls Court in London, but NewcastleGateshead is already looking ahead as Confex prepares to move to ExCeL London in 2012.

While opinions on 2011’s International Confex have been varied, NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau is backing the UK’s biggest conference trade show for another year. Head of business tourism Jessica Roberts said; “Although the event attracted fewer visitors overall, as a destination we find that year on year, International Confex gives us the best opportunity to come face to face with an increasing volume of quality buyers. Visitors at the show this year certainly seemed focussed and came with open minds and real business to place.”

“There was a real buzz about NewcastleGateshead stand throughout the show, with many buyers proactively seeking us out, not just to share our excellent coffee, but to find out more about one of England’s most up and coming new conference cities. “

NewcastleGateshead’s distinctive Angel of the North stand hosted the Convention Bureau’s tenth birthday celebrations alongside eight stand partners representing venues from across North East England.

City development company 1NG was also present, showcasing proposals for an international conference and exhibition centre for NewcastleGateshead on Gateshead Quays. Meet in Durham were on hand to talk about a brand new website dedicated to conferencing and events in the county; Newcastle University and the Convention Bureau’s newest academic member, The University of Sunderland also attended, as did five-star country house hotel, spa and golf resort, Rockliffe Hall; as well as Newcastle Civic Centre and Hilton Newcastle Gateshead. 

Commenting on International Confex 2011, Anna Stacy, head of conferences and events at the destination’s flagship venue, The Sage Gateshead, said; “The three days spent at Confex were hugely successful.

“The number of enquiries received and the potential and quality of leads for conferences and events here at The Sage Gateshead is very encouraging. Confex always offers a great showcase opportunity and is a fantastic forum to catch up with existing clients and colleagues from across the UK”

Jessica added “While we had a good show and will continue to support the event when it moves to ExCeL London, it’s important that International Confex continues to move with the times. There were some positive moves in the right direction this year. The association day certainly has promise, though more focus is required, the online appointment system has real potential and there is clearly more opportunity to exploit the hosted buyer model which works so well at IMEX and EIBTM.”

Jonny Sullens, Portfolio Director, International Confex commented; “The quality and calibre of visitors to Confex is very important to the show and our exhibitors, which is why it is always pleasing to hear such endorsements. Another key improvement is our hosted buyer programme, which will be further facilitated by our move to ExCeL London in 2012. It is important to also recognise that not all buyers want the formality or structure of a hosted buyer programme and as such we will continue to ensure our educational content is of the highest quality to attract these visitors.”

Stand partner feedback
Wendy Benson, sales director at Rockliffe Hall, said; “This is the 2nd year running that we have exhibited at Confex as a stand partner of NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau.  We have received significant interest from the buyers there and generated several booking requests. We will certainly be signing up for 2012 and look forward to the show at ExCeL London.”

Helen Lambert, hospitality supervisor at Newcastle Civic Centre said; “We are still getting emails through as a result of contacts made at the show, and we have got a show round booked in May for an event to be held in December hosting 250 people.

“We’re hopeful this will be of good value not just in monetary terms, but potentially also for repeat business.”

David Bootle, Communications Manager at 1NG, said; “This was the first time 1NG, the city development company for NewcastleGateshead  attended International Confex and we found that the show provided a great opportunity to showcase the future plans for an International Conference and Exhibition Centre and gather market intelligence on the proposals. The NewcastleGateshead stand drew considerable attention from key industry figures and was well managed, profiling the attributes of the destination and its venues for major national and international conferences with a good range and depth of exhibiting partners from across the region.

“We’ve received some good feedback from visitors to the stand about the ICEC plans, and it’s this support for the development from industry leaders that will strengthen the case for an ICEC in NewcastleGateshead going forward.”

Lynn Waterman, Director of Sales, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, said; “We’ve returned from Confex with leads amounting to £350,000 worth of business. It is this return on investment that makes attending Confex with the Convention Bureau essential for Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, and helps sustain the level of international conferences and events we host.”


Media Enquiries
Shelley Staines, Media and PR Manager – Destination & Business, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, T: 0191 440 5739 M: 07717 631 109 E:

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


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