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NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau: a year in review

Headhsot of Caroline smiling towards the camera

Caroline Reed, Senior Manager – Business Events

After a busy and fruitful year at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, Caroline Reed, Senior Manager for Business Events,  runs through some of our highlights and what we have to look forward to in 2024.

2023 has been a busy year at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau with conference organisers keen to get back to in-person events and with a key focus on networking and connecting with colleagues face-to-face. Throughout the year we have been keen to host familiarisation visits as these were less frequent between 2020 and 2022 due to travel restrictions and we know the best way to really understand and get an authentic feel for our region, is to experience it! We were delighted to welcome delegations from the likes of the Nordics, Germany and the GCC. These visits were fantastic opportunities for us to showcase our venues, accommodation, transport links and sector strengths. We also were able to take delegates on food tours, to Alnwick and various other excursions to get the full Geordie experiences whilst they were here.

Our strengths in health and life sciences attracted several conferences and business events to Newcastle and Gateshead in 2023. The British Society for Paediatric Dentistry Annual Scientific Conference, the International Complement Workshop and the NHS Research and Development Forum Annual Conference are just some of the events we welcomed and we know that our scientific research power in the universities and NHS Trust, as well as the life sciences eco-system, can be a real draw for some event organisers.

In total this year we supported organisers to bring 223 business events to Newcastle and Gateshead welcoming over 6000 delegates. I’m also delighted that we were able to support our accommodation providers with more than 4000 bed nights filled.

As a team, we are pleased with these figures but know that we can go further to boost the number of events we bring to the region and the number of bed nights. We continued to have a presence at some of the largest industry conferences and expos this year, namely IMEX Frankfurt and The Meetings Show in London. It was fantastic to work with the likes of VisitEngland and VisitBritain as well as regional partners to shout about Newcastle and Gateshead’s offer for event organisers on a national and international stage.

A key focus this year has been to provide inclusive and accessible experiences for both leisure and business visitors. This has meant that our team, along with other venue and accommodation providers have taken part in inclusive language training through the Proud Allies training delivered by North East LGBTQIA+ charity, Northern Pride. This was a brilliant experience and has given us reassurance and confidence that we can continue to deliver exceptional service for all conference delegates that come to Newcastle and Gateshead.

We have also been working with local businesses to support them to produce relevant information and excellent experiences for their visitors with access needs. Everybody Welcome has helped produce 360-degree video tours of venues and provided staff training and toolkits for tourism businesses that enable visitors with access needs to plan their stay in Newcastle and Gateshead and arrive with confidence.

Alongside this work, I have personally completed a Regenerative Destination Management Certificate, recognising the importance of environmental and social sustainability in our region and how we, as part of a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP), have a responsibility to champion and promote tourism as a force for good.

I feel confident going into 2024 that we have the tools to welcome all delegates and provide excellent experiences and I look forward to continuing to work with partners, stakeholders and ambassadors to bring even more national and international events to the North East of England.

If you’re interested in landing your business event in Newcastle and Gateshead, please get in touch at

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