Business Events

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Unlocking the value of our regional business events market

Destination North east England’s priority is to grow the regions business events market. Business events provide a fantastic opportunity to attract new overnight and international business visitors to our region, with the location of the even being a key driver of the decision to attend the event in the first place.

  • Research shows that business visitors spend around four times more than a domestic leisure visitor per trip.
  • 80% of business visitors say they are likely to return as a leisure visitor.

Evidence shows that for many visitors, attending a conference or event is their first engagement with a destination. The growth potential is huge and business events are a great way to engage people with our destination and the everything it has to offer.

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A regional business events strategy

In 2019 the Visit Britain International Passenger Survey showed that 95,000 international visitors travelled to the North East of England for a meeting or event, however this is the lowest of any region in the UK.

There is significant growth potential, particularly with the opening of the Sage International Conference Centre in 2025/26, building on the already established 600+ venues across the North East. Our current meetings and events offer takes place in hotels and universities, with mix of other venues.

Within the region we currently have the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and Meet Durham who work with event organisers to place meetings and events across the region and proactively target conferences and events related to sector strengths.

Destination North East England have developed a regional business events strategy, identifying regional opportunities and trends for the development of a more sustainable business events sector.

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Promoting our offer on a world-stage

In 2024/25 we will be developing a 10-year pipeline business events for the Sage International Conference Centre, that will bring large-scale events, fill hotel beds and large-scale economic impact across the whole region. We are also developing a toolkit for event organisers to help them understand how they can ensure their event benefits the local community. Our teams will also be looking at ways new to promote this offer on a global stage, including attendance at trade shows and exhibitions across the world.

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Sage Arena and International Conference Centre

The £350+ million Sage Arena and International Conference Centre will transform the south bank of the Tyne into one of the UK’s most dynamic visitor destinations.

The impact on the Visitor Economy is vast, bringing an estimated 1 million+ additional visitors to our region. The potential ongoing economic impact is transformational for the businesses and residents of Gateshead with a direct investment of over £99m per annum in the local economy and an additional £70m of direct investment beyond the venue itself, particularly in the local hospitality sector. It set to create 2000 new jobs.

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International Conference Centre (ICC)

  • 12,500 capacity international grade ICC will open in 2025/26.
  • 5,720sqm state of the art exhibition space
  • 2,520sqm adaptable meeting space
  • 17 conference rooms and a banqueting suite.
  • A regional asset, the Sage ICC will be the facility of its kind between Yorkshire and Scotland.
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Why North East England?

Bringing a global stage and 1 million visitors to the North East

The first international arena, exhibition, and conference centre in the North East, bringing the latest in world-class entertainment, culture, conference hosting and events to the heart of North East England.
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