Over 460 members of the local business community came together to celebrate tourism successes and the strength of the sector at a glittering awards ceremony, held at St James’ Park, on 21 November 2013.
The awards not only provide an important platform to celebrate innovation, quality and performance, but also provide a useful benchmark for all businesses operating in the region’s £3.6bn industry. Both shortlisted and winning businesses have cited the awards process as helping them to drive forward improvements in performance, quality, sustainability, staff morale and customer satisfaction. Winners of the regional awards will now go forward to the national VisitEngland Excellence Awards, in spring 2014.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation, NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “The enthusiasm we’ve seen from businesses for this year’s North East England Tourism Awards has been fantastic. The results demonstrate the quality and innovation within the visitor economy from across the whole region and I’d like to congratulate all of the winners on their success. The judges were highly impressed with the quality of entrants and all of the shortlisted businesses should be proud of their achievements.
“The awards have presented an opportunity for the industry to come together and demonstrate the importance and scale of tourism in the North East. I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who volunteered to judge and deliver what has been a truly spectacular event.”
For a full list of the 2013 winners, click here
Our inward investment team is blazing a trail through the tech community in the UK and America in partnership with Ignite100 – one of Europe’s leading accelerator programmes for early stage technology start-ups – to spread the word about the fantastic talent and innovative projects happening in our region.
As part of our inward investment communications activity for the creative and digital sector, we’ve been working with Ignite100 to support two events which were held in London and New York. The London event - held at the Google Campus in Shoreditch - brought together tech start-ups doing business in the north east to the capital, which also served to promote the large amount of creative industries operating in the region to London based entrepreneurs. The New York event provided an excellent opportunity to introduce the tech scene there to NewcastleGateshead’s thriving digital hub to potential international investors.
Senior inward investment manager at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Jennifer Hartley, said: "Newcastle has a fantastic tech community which is very active, welcoming and supportive; providing an excellent location for start-ups to grow and prosper. The Ignite100 programme perfectly complements this and since its inception in 2011, has made a huge contribution to raising the profile among UK and international audiences of the fantastic talent, businesses and innovative work that is happening here every day.
“It’s great to be part of events like these which play a key role in helping to bring together companies to promote the collaborative working which is vital to the continued growth of the industry."
Paul Smith, director and programme manager continued: "We want to show how we can build start-ups together. The programme helps tech companies get away from the navel-gazing approach. It is about encouraging collaboration, with companies sharing their expertise and knowledge to help each other improve and take inspiration from each other. Newcastle is a great city which offers an excellent base to grow a business, especially those in the tech industry. We’re delighted to be working with NewcastleGateshead Initiative to support spreading the message about the innovative work happening in our corner of the world.”
We’re delighted to announce that TT2 - the organisation responsible for the design, build, majority finance and operation of the new vehicle tunnel, the full refurbishment of the existing vehicle tunnel, and operation of all Tyne Tunnels until 2037 – has joined us as a gold partner.
Rachel Turnbull, CEO of TT2, said: “We are delighted to join forces with NewcastleGateshead Initiative to support the excellent work being carried out to showcase this dynamic area. p>
Since TT2 commissioned the second vehicle tunnel, the A19 has been rediscovered by motorists as the perfect route not only to explore the stunning North East coast, but also as the most reliable route to the region’s major international travel hubs. What’s more, people are increasingly travelling via the A19 to reach Gateshead and Newcastle.
We see tremendous value in our partnership with NewcastleGateshead Initiative, with both organisations striving to strengthen the economic power of the region by encouraging inward investment and strengthening the profile of the region as a vibrant aspect of the UK’s future growth.
I look forward to a fruitful and productive working relationship with NewcastleGateshead Initiative that will reap success not only for our organisations but for the North East as a whole.”
After six years with NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Paul Szomoru has been appointed to lead business tourism activity and our Convention Bureau team.
NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau promotes our destination as a place to hold meetings, conferences and business events and supports meeting planners throughout the organising process. A ‘one stop shop’ offering impartial, unbiased advice and unrivalled local knowledge, the Convention Bureau has built up a reputation for attracting high-profile conferences to the destination while providing friendly and knowledgeable support, and is the ‘official’ point of contact for all conference organisers.
In his role as head of business tourism, Paul will lead the team with a new strategy focusing on the destination’s key strengths and unique experiences delegates love, aligned with our inward investment activity and refreshed communications that bring out the personality of the place and it’s famous warm Geordie welcome. Immediate plans also include the introduction of an ‘SME placement scheme’, which will allow local businesses to attend conferences and expand their networks and knowledge, and which is just one of the new resources we have been able to develop as a direct result of having secured ERDF funding, which will help us to grow the North East economy through additional business tourism activity.
In addition to Paul, we are delighted to welcome Natalie Bowman, who joins us after 10 years at Sage Gateshead to take on the role of conference development manager; Julie Rastelletti who joins us from Jesmond Dene House as business tourism executive (maternity cover for Anna Moroney); and Laura Kennedy, who joins us in the role of business tourism executive. Both Julie and Laura will take on responsibility for the core function of the bureau, delivering key operations including bookings and enquiry management, (Laura will also lead on the SME placement scheme), while a new proactive sales and marketing strategy developed directly with partners will be delivered by Alex Mackee, the Bureau’s conference sales manager.
We’ve been working with Newcastle City Council, Host City of the England Rugby World Cup in 2015, to maximise tourism opportunities for the destination and our partners.
We recently hosted representatives from All Blacks Tours, the official New Zealand ticketing agent for Rugby World Cup 2015, providing them with a familiarisation visit in NewcastleGateshead and the wider region.
In spring 2014, a number of our partners will find out if they have been successful in their bid to be named a Team Base during the tournament. NewcastleGateshead Initiative oversaw the Team Base project, and we wish all the shortlisted candidates every success.
We will be in contact with further updates and opportunities around Rugby World Cup 2015 in the new year.