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North East meetings and events industry on track for recovery

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau has reported signs of recovery for the meetings and events industry in the North East.

From April 2019 to April 2022, the convention bureau has facilitated a 73% increase in confirmed enquiries for meetings, events and conferences, with figures from May this year almost at full recovery from 2019. This is the highest performing month for value of confirmed business in six years.

May figures reflect a steady path to full recovery, coming in at 87% pre-covid levels despite the industry being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

An influx in event bookings for June 2022 resulted in a total of almost 1,000 city centre beds being filled by direct booking through the convention bureau, over a two week period.

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), work with established partnerships and local academia to help bring meetings, events and conferences to the region.

Paul Szomoru, Director of Business Events, NGI said:

“The figures we have received are very encouraging for the steady recovery of the meetings and event sector, and are also testament to the resilience, collaboration and innovation of our team and each and every venue, ambassador and supplier across the region.

“Having a healthy pipeline of events is crucial to the sustainability of the sector and the recovery and growth of the local visitor economy, by filling our hotels, venues, restaurants and attractions, increasing visitor numbers and spend and supporting jobs across the industry.

“It’s a very exciting time for meetings and events in Newcastle, with the opening of the brand-new Sage ICC in 2024. The development is already proving to be a game-changer in the industry, by enabling us to target and attract bigger international events, more national and international delegates and ultimately working towards positioning NewcastleGateshead as the world’s meeting place.

“We’re continuing to build on this momentum after attending a very successful Meetings Show last week, where we exhibited alongside regional partners to showcase the region to the industry, and have returned with a wealth of new business enquiries.”

The events that have taken place in the last month span a wealth of sectors and include international conferences such as the International Lewy Body Dementia Conference, British International Studies Association, UK Council for International Student Affairs and SunnyCon Anime Expo.

Venues across Newcastle and Gateshead were used for the events such as Newcastle United Football Club, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Blackfriars, Newcastle Helix, Wylam Brewery, Discovery Museum and Crowne Plaza.

Luke Balcombe, Director of Sales and Marketing, Crowne Plaza said:

“This has been a trying time for the industry, and it is very encouraging to see the signs of steady recovery. The commitment and hard work from NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau has been admirable, and we have seen the direct result of their collaborative efforts to drive enquiries and to confirm new business.

“We’re looking forward to the continuation of success, and to welcoming more events and delegates to our venues and to the region.”

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