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Sports tourism top of the agenda for minister’s visit to NewcastleGateshead

13th November 2012

Categories: Latest News

Sports and Tourism Minister, Hugh Robertson MP, was in NewcastleGateshead today (TUES) meeting with leading businesses and key tourism organisations to discuss the current challenges and opportunities faced by the tourism industry.

Hosted by destination management and marketing agency, NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), Mr Robertson was on a whistle-stop tour of the destination to get an insight into the importance of tourism within NewcastleGateshead and the wider area, with a particular focus on sports tourism.

His first stop was St James’ Park where he met with representatives from Nova International, Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle Eagles, Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle United Football Club and Newcastle and Gateshead councils, where the region’s sporting achievements and legacy of holding major sporting events, such as the Great North Run and this year’s Olympics football, were highlighted.

His visit also coincided with a meeting of the English Core Cities Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) Group, also being hosted by NGI.

The group, which was set up in 2010, looks at the impact of changes to the way in which the visitor economy is supported at a local, regional and national level. It is made up of DMOs, of which NewcastleGateshead Initiative is one, from the eight biggest cities in England outside of London.

Top of the agenda for their meeting with the Minister was the role the Core Cities can play in ensuring there is a lasting legacy from this year’s Olympics. They also discussed the costs involved in destinations bidding for major sporting events, and the funding available to support this, as well as the importance of regional airports to the tourism economy.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We were delighted to welcome Hugh Robertson MP to the destination.

“It is essential to the future growth of our visitor economy that we engage with those at a national level, in particular those influencing and delivering national tourism policy. Today’s visit was a significant opportunity to discuss the issues that are of most importance to the region’s tourism industry.

“NewcastleGateshead has a strong legacy of holding fantastic sporting events, which make a significant contribution the area’s economy. With bids to host future major events, such as the Rugby World Cup, still in the pipeline, today’s meetings were a great opportunity to showcase what we can do, as well as raising concerns over the availability of funding required to bring such events to the area.” 

Hugh Robertson MP said “Newcastle is a vibrant city with plenty on offer for visitors to the area, whether it’s for cultural or sporting events. I was encouraged to hear from those involved in the local tourism sector, hosted by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, on its plans to explore more opportunities to grow the local economy and enhance the city’s reputation as one of this country’s leading tourist destinations.”

Tourism organisations from across the region including Newcastle International Airport, Beamish Museum, Alnwick Garden,  Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, Northumberland Tourism and the North East Hotels Association also met with Mr Robertson at a private dinner at Jesmond Dene House Hotel on Monday night.


For further information please contact
Hayley Quarmby, Media and PR Manager, 0191 440 5749

Notes to Editors

• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the destination management and marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead. Its mission is to position and promote NewcastleGateshead as a leading European destination for leisure and business visitors.

• Created in 2000 by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead 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 to live, learn, work, visit and invest.

• English Core Cities DMO Group, set up in 2010 and includes Newcastle, Birmingham, Sheffield, Bristol, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. The group represents the destination management organisations from the eight biggest cities outside of London. Between them they attract over 3.5 million overseas visitors annually and seven of the cities feature in the top 20 ranked most visited destinations in the UK.

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