National tourist board VisitBritain has announced that its flagship annual travel trade event ExploreGB is to be held in NewcastleGateshead in 2018.
ExploreGB is VisitBritain’s largest travel trade event with hundreds of international buyers meeting travel trade suppliers from across the UK to do business.
VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “We are delighted to be bringing ExploreGB to NewcastleGateshead and the North East of England in 2018.
“From its modern arts scene, buzzing quayside and lively cafés to its striking architecture and first-class conference facilities, NewcastleGateshead is a fantastic destination and a great base for our international buyers to start their tours across Britain. As the city will also be hosting the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 it will certainly be the moment to drive visits and international growth from tourism to the regions.”
Sarah Stewart (pictured), chief executive of destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, described ExploreGB going to the North East as “a fantastic opportunity to not only showcase NewcastleGateshead, and the wider region, to international buyers but will also be an opportune time to present Great Exhibition of the North and the full programme of art, culture and innovation which will commence in the following months.
“Delegates will be able to explore the huge variety of experiences NewcastleGateshead has to offer tourism visitors, and will see how these experience will be amplified through Great Exhibition of the North in summer 2018.
“We look forward to welcoming the delegates during the conference and wish them an enjoyable stay in NewcastleGatesead.”
This year’s ExploreGB, held this week in Brighton, saw more than 400 international buyers from 40 countries do business with 430 travel industry suppliers from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The 2018 event is set to run during the first week of March.
Previous destinations to host ExploreGB are Liverpool in 2015 and Ascot in 2014.
Last year was a record-breaker for inbound tourism to the UK with 37.3m visits, up 3.4% on 2015, with visitors spending £22.2bn, matching 2015’s record spend.
VisitBritain’s forecast shows that this growth is set to continue with 38.8m visits this year, while spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £23.9bn.
Tourism is worth more than £127bn to the UK economy.