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Northern bureaux team up for mega-fam

Destinations across the north of England hosted a group of international conference organisers on a large-scale fam

Pictured: Buyers enjoyed a Legends of Soul concert at Sage Gateshead as part of the wide-ranging fam trip

Destinations across the north of England hosted a group of international conference organisers on a large-scale familiarisation (fam) trip to the region.

The convention bureaux for Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester teamed up to bring a group of international buyers to the region, after attending IMEX.

As part of the Northern Tourism Growth Fund, a £10m Government-funded programme, destinations across the North have been working together, alongside VisitBritain and VisitEngland, to promote the region in key international markets. Of the funding, £1m was used to maximise on international conferences and events coming to the north of England.

Across four days the delegates saw the region first-hand, visiting diverse venues as well as the unique experiences that make the north so distinctive. Their itinerary stretched from a visit to Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site to meeting a knight in shining armour at Newcastle Castle, via the grandeur of Manchester Town Hall and The Mansion in Leeds.

Paul Szomoru, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We were delighted to welcome the group of event organisers to Northern England as part of our Northern Tourism Growth Fund activity. 

“We’re competing in an ever growing global marketplace and this past year’s programme has allowed us to combine our individual destination strengths and really impress international audiences with how inspiring, relevant and accessible we are. There’s simply no substitute for experiencing something yourself first-hand; that’s why hosting groups such as this one is so important. 

“Our year-long programme promoting Northern England has been a huge success. We are making noise in the international market, raising the profile of the region as a place to bring conferences and events and we look forward to continuing this work in the future."

Jerry Vaughn, president of meetings and incentives at Seattle-based Corporate Events and Leisure Services (CEALS), said: The fam was an eye-opener. I thought each city had a lot to offer and, for the right group, I wouldn't hesitate to put them in any of the cities we visited.

Without question, the experience of this fam provided me with the knowledge and appropriate perspective to market and recommend these destinations to our clients. It is definitely an option that likely would not have been explored had I not participated and just been stuck with erroneous perceptions of some of the areas I had before."

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