The NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau (NGCB) has called for an international conference and exhibition centre to attract more conventions, after a report found business tourism accounted for almost a quarter of a billion pounds in 2008/9.
Research commissioned by the development agency One North East indicates business tourism pumped almost £240m into the NewcastleGateshead local economy, helping to create 5,700 jobs in 2008/09. According to One North East, the twin cities represented 63 per cent of all gross business tourism in North East England - which totals £378m - with an estimated 1.6 million delegates attending conferences there in 2008/09.
“With further investment and improved infrastructure, business tourism can play an even greater role in the region’s economic prosperity. Our present lack of large-scale, flat-floor exhibition space means bigger conventions are sometimes turned away. Establishing an international conference and exhibition centre in NewcastleGateshead would be a great economic driver for the region and also for Britain,” says head of business tourism at NGCB, Jessica Roberts.
“Major national and international conferences are not only a great way of profiling a destination, but this research shows that they deliver real tangible economic benefits, not just in the cities’ hotels and venues, but also for the many businesses throughout the region that supply this sector,” she adds.
A blend of qualitative and quantitative research, national statistics and venue audits based on the UK Event Market Trends Survey were incorporated into the study. The project was supported by the four sub-regional Area Tourism Partnerships, including Visit TeesValley, Visit County Durham, Tourism Tyne and Wear and Northumberland Tourism.
Picture: The Sage Gateshead by Alex Telfer