Newcastle on course to further capture the lucrative business tourism market

Large-scale business events have returned to Newcastle following a COVID-enforced industry hiatus, with over 360 delegates currently in the city attending the 2022 RSL NSW Annual State Convention.

The two-day conference which ends today at the Newcastle Convention and Exhibition Center follows the International Conference on Emerging Advanced Nanomaterials earlier this month, which brought together leading scientific personalities, including three award winners Nobel Prize, and attracted more than 500 delegates over five days, representing approximately $1 million in economic value.

Both conferences were supported by the City of Newcastle’s Events Sponsorship Program as part of a strategic push to further capture the lucrative trade events market, which has contributed more than $10.4 billion a year to the economy of New South Wales, before the pandemic.

Newcastle Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that with COVID-19 restrictions now behind us, we are starting to see an increasing number of face-to-face business events returning to the city.

“In March 2020, the commercial events industry came to a halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving in-person events impacted by ongoing necessary public health orders and restrictions,” said Cr Nelmes.

“However, there is now renewed optimism within the industry and demand to return to face-to-face meeting.

“This is good news for our city with business events contributing significantly to Newcastle’s visitor economy across the tourism, hospitality and events sectors, the annual State Congress from RSL NSW alone is expected to generate around 750 overnight stays for local hotels and provide over $300,000 in economic benefit.

Newcastle has already organized several trade events for 2023 which will welcome between 200 and 400 delegates each, including conferences for the Australian Museums and Galleries Association, the Australian College of Emergency Medicine, the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia and Christian churches Australia as well as the NSW Coastal Conference and the National Coast to Coast Conference. A number of other important trade events are also in the pipeline.

Cr Nelmes said Newcastle was perfectly placed to host large-scale business events, with first-class conference and meeting facilities in private and Council-run locations, while the opening of two five-star hotels stars added a new level of luxury to the city. choice of accommodation.

RSL NSW Chairman Ray James said the quality of the facilities on offer and the town’s rich military history made Newcastle the obvious choice for the annual RSL NSW State Congress.

“In consultation with its sub-branches, RSL NSW has chosen Newcastle to host one of the former service organization’s largest events due to the city’s first-class conference facilities, accommodation options, recreational facilities and transportation options available to members statewide,” said James.

“Visiting delegates will take the opportunity to tour the various war memorials and museums around the city to commemorate and pay respect to the dead.”

Cr Nelmes said the City of Newcastle is strategically focused on increasing business tourism through the Newcastle Destination Management Plan.

“Of the 5.1 million visitors welcomed to Newcastle in 2019, business travelers accounted for 22% of domestic and international overnight stays, with hotel occupancy levels averaging a steady 80% mid-week,” said said Cr Nelmes.

“Research from Tourism Australia indicates that business travelers spend on average 74% more per night than tourists.”

The City of Newcastle is a long-standing member of the Australian Association of Convention Bureaus and works with local and state partners, including Newcastle University and Destination NSW, to identify, bid and secure commercial events.

Looking to the future of commercial events, Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock said the region’s potential to host large-scale international events is brewing.

“Newcastle Airport is growing and, from 2024, our expanded terminal will be able to handle hundreds of thousands of international passengers each year thanks to airfield improvements that will accommodate larger aircraft including Boeing 787s. and Airbus A330s,” Dr Cock said.

“This will allow direct flights between Newcastle and destinations in Asia, the Middle East and America.

“Newcastle’s future as an international tourism and major events destination is bright, and the federal government’s funding of $55 million for the Newcastle Airport terminal expansion and $66 million for the modernization of the airfield will be instrumental in Newcastle’s transition from a thriving regional center to an emerging world city.

“Combined with the arrival of two new luxury hotels, including The Kingsley and QT Newcastle, Newcastle’s appeal as a host destination for large-scale international business events becomes even more attractive.”

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