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Newcastle 'Rock City' wows conference organisers

2nd June 2014

Categories: Latest News

Conference planners this weekend were wowed by American rock stars, Kings of Leon, as part of a fam trip designed to showcase the many inspiring experiences on offer to delegates attending an event in the destination.

The trip, which hosted planners from prestigious organisations such as ASiT (Association of Surgeons in Training), AIMA (Alternative Investment Management Ass), BERA (British Education Research Association), Airmic and the Chartered Institute of Housing, featured corporate hospitality at St James’ Park to watch the multi Grammy and Brit award-winning rockers as they played their largest UK stadium concert on the Mechanical Bull tour.

Paul Szomoru, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: "We were delighted to welcome these influential event planners during an exciting weekend for Newcastle, which saw St James’ Park host its first music event in almost seven years.

"The destination has a strong reputation for delivering a year-round program of festivals and events – including high profile events such as Rugby World Cup 2015 - meaning there’s always something fresh and interesting happening when delegates descend on the city for major conferences.

"We hope the weekend inspired the planners and showed them that as well as our knowledgeable and supportive Convention Bureau, first-class venues and support services, NewcastleGateshead has a huge amount to offer organisers looking to bring their next big event to North East England."

The trip also featured a visit to Sage Gateshead to experience an exhilarating rooftop walk as well as the opportunity to sample the culinary delights and bowling on offer at Lane7, Newcastle’s newest boutique bowling alley. The group also visited BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art - an international art gallery housed in a former flour mill and one of the North East’s most iconic buildings, as well as Blackfriars, the UK’s oldest dining hall which was established in 1239 as a Dominican friary.

Dr Ed Fitzgerald, conference director at ASiT, commented: "What a great idea to invite conference planners to experience NewcastleGateshead outside of the meeting room. While it’s clear the place has some fantastic venues for hosting conferences, I was delighted to see some of the equally wonderful activities on offer to delegates, and indeed all visitors, to the city – the particular highlight for me was being part of the electric crowds at St James’ Park."

Newcastle United’s finance director John Irving added: "Being the largest stadium venue that Kings of Leon are playing in the UK allowed us to offer an experience that is not available anywhere else. The line-up that we devised is exclusive to the Newcastle show, ensuring that the conference planners were part of a special event that provided a unique way to experience the city."

A survey conducted by NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau in December 2012 revealed that delegates visiting the destination enjoyed the place so much, that 87% would consider returning with friends and family for a leisure visit.

The Convention Bureau’s ‘experiences your delegates will love campaign’ encourages event planners to inject some fun and creativity into their event social programmes and positions NewcastleGateshead as the ideal delegate destination.

Organisers looking to bring an event to NewcastleGateshead and would like further information on how the Convention Bureau can support, as well as more inspiring ideas for delegate activity, should visit

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