A new survey by NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau shows almost 90 per cent of hotels, businesses, attractions and venues in the region describe conference business in 2008 as either better or the same as 2007.
The survey was undertaken by the Convention Bureau and included responses from The Sage Gateshead, Northumbria University, Durham County Cricket Club, Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club, greystreethotel and Newcastle United Conference & Banqueting.
The Sage’s hosting of the Conservative Party Spring Forum in March was worth an estimated £1m to the region, while The World Muscle Society’s international conference brought in £900,000 to the destination, the Bureau reveals.
Damon Roberts, GM of The Thistle Newcastle and Chair of the North East Hoteliers Association, saw a 15 per cent rise in conference business at his hotel last year.
Jessica Roberts, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau, said: “This survey indicates it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are plenty of positive stories coming out of this region and many of our members have highlighted positive experiences last year, which will have boosted their venue, but also boosted the region as a whole, from the economic impact that major conferences deliver.”
The survey also focused on 2009 and reveals that 32 per cent of businesses that took part were ‘positive’ with a similar amount expressed ‘caution’, saying that they would need to prepare well for the challenging economic climate ahead.
Managing director of international association event organisers, The Whyman Group, Emma Cartmell. Is looking to expand business overseas.
She says: “Business hasn’t dried up in the UK or North East by any means, but looking ahead we can still see potential in other markets and other countries.”