20 February 2019
A group of international association conference organisers from across Europe have been exploring NewcastleGateshead after being invited to the destination by the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and VisitBritain.
The three-day educational trip was designed to showcase NewcastleGateshead as an exciting destination for hosting major business events, such as international association conferences. Organised in partnership with VisitBritain, the influential group flew in to Newcastle International Airport from across Europe.
The itinerary covered many of the abundance of excellent conference and event venues on offer, such as The Assembly Rooms a grand Georgian building in the heart of the city centre; St. James’ Park stadium, home of Newcastle United Football Club, with some of the largest events spaces available in North East England; and Maldron Hotel, a brand-new, 268 bedroom four-star hotel which opened in the city-centre in December 2018.
The eight European buyers stayed at Hilton Newcastle Gateshead and Crowne Plaza Newcastle, and got to be part of some of the unique experiences that could be available for people attending conferences in NewcastleGateshead, such as a four-course dinner on the stage of the main hall in the stunning Norman Foster designed Sage Gateshead after drinks in the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art next door; tea with the Lord Mayor at Newcastle Civic Centre; an exclusive viewing of the travelling art exhibition, the Museum of the Moon at Life Science Centre; and an immersive look at the regions special history and heritage at Beamish Museum.
One of the attendees, Professor Giuseppe Spazzafumo, President of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy, came to NewcastleGateshead to find out how the destination could support a future conference. He said: “I was very impressed with the organisation of the visit, NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau were excellent hosts and really showed me the best of the facilities on offer. They also organised a personal visit for me to see Newcastle University which would be a perfect venue for my future symposium.”
Paul Szomoru, director of business events at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “NewcastleGateshead has a great track record of hosting successful international conferences and events. They bring influential audiences, who make a big direct economic impact but also significant potential business, investment and research legacy opportunities. The people on this trip organise conferences in engineering, technology and medicine, all of which are strong sectors of the region and we are keen to showcase NewcastleGateshead as a relevant destination for such events.
“We are competing with destinations all over the world to win this business for North East England and the UK, it’s through hosting educational trips such as these that demonstrates first-hand that we have all the right ingredients. From a great airport with routes from 80 destinations so people can easily get here, to a fantastic array of venues and experiences on offer.
“It’s been a brilliant team effort; the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau team together with all the venues, hotels and attractions on the itinerary to roll out the ‘red carpet’ and show how we would make their conferences a success if they brought them here. Brewery tours at Wylam Palace of Arts and By The River Brew Company showed some of our most recent exciting event venue offerings and I just love that we can say we took them ‘to the moon and back’ at Life Science Centre and we travelled back in time with them at Beamish Museum. Naturally ensuring they felt a proper warm Geordie welcome every step of the way!”
Kerrin MacPhie, head of business events at VisitBritain, said:“It has been great working with NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau to welcome international event planners to the UK and show the quality of Newcastle’s fantastic events offering.
“We are passionate about working with our partners to provide a world-class visitor experience for all international event planners and their delegates, and it is through activity like this that we are able to demonstrate first-hand our high-quality product. By promoting our regional gateways alongside the outstanding venues, attractions and experiences that are available across the country, we ensure the UK remains a competitive destination in the global business events marketplace.”