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News Article Search

City-breakers boost business to buck economic trend

12th August 2013

Categories: Convention Bureau News

A packed calendar of festivals and events last year, including Olympic Football at St James’ Park, has cemented NewcastleGateshead’s reputation as a city-break destination of choice, with new figures showing 14% more people stayed overnight in 2012.

Estimated using the Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Model (STEAM), the figures released today shows a significant increase in the value and volume of overnight visitors. 1.9m people (up by 200,000 compared to 2011) spent a total of 4.3 million nights in NewcastleGateshead in 2012 (up 5%), contributing £404m to the local economy (up 8%).

Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Despite economically challenging times NewcastleGateshead continues to offer stand-out experiences for visitors, from events like EAT! which again takes place later this month, to our world-famous nightlife and a retail and food offer that continues to attract investment. This is a great boost for the local economy as well as great news for everyone working in the tourism industry. ”

Damon Roberts, joint chair of the North East Hotels Association said: “These figures are extremely positive from a hotelier perspective as the popularity of NewcastleGateshead as a destination for overnight visitors continues to grow. A varied events programme across the area helps to boost occupancy at hotels throughout the region.”

Overall the number of visitors, including those coming to NewcastleGateshead for the day, has grown significantly reaching 17.7 million people, (an increase of 1%); tourism is now worth £1.3bn to the local economy.  Employment in the sector has also seen growth with 18,799 people now employed in tourism related jobs, (a rise of 2%).

Sleeperz Newcastle opened in January 2012; Javeed Anwar, head of sales and marketing at Sleeperz Hotels, commented: “The performance of our city centre Newcastle hotel reflects the positive economic impact tourism is having in NewcastleGateshead.

“In our first 12 months we welcomed over 35,000 guests and won a hat-trick of industry awards for family friendly accommodation, architectural excellence and customer satisfaction. Opening our second UK hotel in Newcastle was a great decision and our occupancy rates continue to reflect the city’s appeal as a visitor destination.”

As well as NewcastleGateshead’s annual programme of festivals and events, which features favourites like EAT!, Juice Festival and the New Year’s Eve Winter Carnival, 2012 also saw a string of high-profile meetings take place.

Sage Gateshead hosted the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in March, completing a hat-trick of political party conferences. While Newcastle Civic Centre welcomed the National Union of Journalists in October; combined, the two events attracted more than 1,850 delegates and ploughed more than £2m into the local economy.

Attractions across the destination also saw increased footfall across the year with 2.3 million visitors, (up 5% compared to 2011). The summer saw the arrival of Olympic Football on Tyneside with teams including Mexico and Brazil taking part in the London 2012 Olympic Football tournament at St James’ Park.

Sarah Stewart added: “As well as Football, we also hosted the Olympic Torch, with a spectacular event that saw Bear Grills zip wire from the Tyne Bridge. The summer buzz around Olympics allowed us to showcase the place as a vibrant and exciting destination, famous for our friendly welcome and inspiring festivals. These figures are testament to the success of last year’s Olympic summer, as well as our annual festivals and conferences, which reinforce our reputation for delivering major events.” 
NewcastleGateshead Initiative is currently undertaking a face to face survey to get direct feedback from visitors about their stay and see how the experience can be made even better.

The survey, the first of its kind for three years, will provide valuable data to help understand who is currently coming to NewcastleGateshead and help shape future marketing campaigns. Partners including hotels and leisure attractions will be helping carry out the survey which will run throughout the summer.

2012 Tourism in NewcastleGateshead

• 17.7 million people visited NewcastleGateshead (up by 1%).
• Overall visitors spent 20 million days in NewcastleGateshead with a total expenditure of £1.3 billion (up by 2%).
• The destination welcomed 1.9 million overnight visitors (up by 14%).
• Overnight visitors spent 4.3 million nights in NewcastleGateshead (up by 5%).
• Overnight visitor spend £404m (up by 8%).
• Tourism directly employs 14,822 in NewcastleGateshead (up by 2%) with total employment at 18,799 (up by 2%).


For media enquiries contact:
Shelley Armstrong
Media & PR Manager
T. +44 (0)191 440 5739
M. +44 (0)7717 631 109

Notes to editors:
• STEAM is a tourism economic impact model operated by Global Tourism Solutions (UK) ltd, providing monthly and annual estimates on the value, volume and impact of tourism in the area. 
• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils, working with around 170 private sector partner organisations across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region
• 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 inspire people to visit and to live, learn, work and invest in NewcastleGateshead.
o Our marketing & communications team works to promote and position NewcastleGateshead as a vibrant tourism destination, through targeted campaigns nationally and internationally. Our visitor information team helps ensure visitors have the best possible experience when they’re here, providing information and support.
o Our cultural programming team work with partners across the destination to bring together NewcastleGateshead’s cultural offer and deliver some of our most popular festival & events, including EAT! NewcastleGateshead, Juice Festival and the NewcastleGateshead Winter Festival.
o Our 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, venue sourcing and accommodation booking, to arranging transport and entertainment for delegates
o Our inward investment team helps businesses locate, expand and flourish in NewcastleGateshead, providing a range of services to make it easy to realise their ambitions for growth
• 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
• - destination website for NewcastleGateshead

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