Newcastle shines as host destination for business tourism

15 Mar 2023

Newcastle has won the right to host two large scale business events this October, with more than 500 delegates expected to descend on the city injecting more than $1.6 million into the local visitor economy.

Newcastle vied against 30 other destinations in a competitive bid process to secure the highly-coveted 2023 Australian Regional Tourism convention at City Hall from 10-12 October, and will welcome the nation's best town planners for the Planning Institute of Australia's regional conference from 19-21 October.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the reprisal of large-scale business events in 2023, as part of a strategic push to capture more of the lucrative business events market, which contributed over $10.4 billion annually to the NSW economy, prior to the pandemic.

"Securing both business events is welcome news for our city, with business events proven to be a significant contributor to Newcastle’s visitor economy, boosting the tourism and hospitality sectors," Cr Nelmes said.

"These two events, which are expected to generate approximately 3,000 room nights for local hotels and deliver more than $1.6 million in economic benefit, are the latest in a long list of major conferences headed to Newcastle this year to reinvigorate the local business events sector following several COVID-impacted years.

“Newcastle offers broad appeal as a host destination for large-scale business events, with world-class conferencing and meeting facilities as well as a range of quality accommodation options including luxury hotels The Kingsley and QT Newcastle.

"Newcastle's potential to host future large-scale international events is just gearing up with a major expansion of Newcastle Airport underway to enable direct flights between Newcastle and destinations in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas."

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

“Of the 5.1 million visitors welcomed to Newcastle in 2019, business travellers represented 22 per cent of both domestic and international overnight stays, with hotel occupancy levels consistently averaging 80 per cent mid-week,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Tourism Australia research indicates that business travellers spend 74 per cent more per night on average compared to leisure visitors, making business events a very lucrative market segment.”

Australian Regional Tourism chair Coralie Bell said the convention presents an exciting opportunity to highlight Newcastle's plan to become a nationally significant destination for cultural tourism.

“We are thrilled to be working with the City of Newcastle to deliver the 2023 Australian Regional Tourism Convention,” Ms Bell said.

"Newcastle is renowned for its innovative and creative community and vibrant cultural history whilst the City’s evolution as an events city has stepped up a notch recently with various major events being secured, providing immediate and ongoing benefit for the community and the economy, with greater visitation and investment outcomes. This is all integral to the shaping of a thriving visitor economy."

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