Newcastle Airport announced as supporting partner for Great Exhibition of the North 2018

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Named Airport of the Year at the North of England Transport Awards, Newcastle Airport has joined Great Exhibition of the North as a supporting partner.


The arrival point for many global visitors attending Great Exhibition of the North in 2018, Newcastle Airport will be promoted to overseas audiences as the official international gateway for the 80-day Exhibition, which takes place in NewcastleGateshead from 22 June – 09 September 2018.


Chief Executive of Newcastle International Airport Nick Jones said: “We’re proud to be a supporting partner of Great Exhibition of the North, which provides an unrivalled opportunity to put NewcastleGateshead and the North of England firmly on the map.


“As the gateway to an international audience, we look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event.”


Sarah Stewart, chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Influential travel platform Rough Guide recently named Newcastle the number one place to visit in the world in 2018.”


“Great Exhibition of the North has really captured people’s imaginations and interest in visiting NewcastleGateshead and the North of England is extremely high. Working in partnership with Newcastle Airport and tourism agencies VisitBritain and VisitEngland, we’ll be encouraging international audiences to visit NewcastleGateshead for Great Exhibition of the North and experience the wider North too.


“Having Newcastle Airport on board as a supporting partner for Great Exhibition is fantastic news and we look forward to working with them on this very special event.


“We have already secured our Premier Travel Partner, Virgin Trains, so we’re delighted to be able to announce another partner who can help get visitors to the Great Exhibition.”


Set to be the biggest event in England in 2018, the Great Exhibition of the North is a summer of amazing exhibits, inspired technology, vibrant street performance, cutting edge culture and magical experiences in NewcastleGateshead.


Telling the dynamic story of the North, how its innovators, businesses, artists and designers shaped our present and are inspiring our future; three walking trails focussing on arts and culture, design and innovation will showcase exciting ideas from across the North of England.

The full Great Exhibition of the North programme will be unveiled in early 2018.

The Exhibition will also highlight the North’s strengths in key sectors, including digital, health innovation and energy, as well as profiling great Northern innovations such as Graphene, which was discovered by scientists working at the University of Manchester in 2004.


Sarah continued: “Great Exhibition of the North will change outdated stereotypes of Northern England and leave behind a legacy that will see more people visiting the area in years to come. Our partnership with Newcastle Airport will support our ongoing work to bring more international visitors to NewcastleGateshead and the wider North.”


NewcastleGateshead Initiative, the lead delivery body for Great Exhibition of the North, Newcastle Airport and national tourism body VisitBritain recently announced a three-year partnership to promote the North East of England to overseas visitors.


Focussed on driving more visitors to explore the diverse culture and heritage of NewcastleGateshead and the surrounding areas, year one of the initiative will target visitors from Germany, highlighting the direct flights from Berlin to Newcastle Airport, and profiling Great Exhibition of the North as a reason to travel in 2018.


The partnership is also working with local destination management organisations, Northumberland Tourism and Visit County Durham, and tourism colleagues at Sunderland City Council, North Tyneside Council, South Tyneside Council and the Tees Valley Combined Authority, to develop bookable itineraries showcasing the region's varied tourism product.


The Great Exhibition of the North is expected to engage an audience of three million people and bring a £184 million boost to the North East, showing how cultural investment can benefit and inspire entire communities.


For more information visit




Notes to editors


About the Great Exhibition of the North 2018

  • The Great Exhibition of the North will showcase the incredible creative, cultural and design sectors across the whole of the North. It was first announced by Government in April 2016 and a competition was launched to secure £5m of government funding for a two-month exhibition.
  • In October 2016, NewcastleGateshead was selected to host the Great Exhibition of The North; NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) led the bid and is the lead delivery partner for the Exhibition, working closely with colleagues at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, BALTIC, Sage Gateshead, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and a project board chaired by Sir Gary Verity.
  • The NewcastleGateshead programme for the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 will span 80 days, opening over the weekend of the 22 June 2018. It will celebrate innovation and creativity across Northern England and will help boost investment and tourism, while leaving a lasting cultural and economic legacy.
  • Ambitious plans will use the whole destination as the stage, with a newly commissioned creative programme taking place in a range of venues and outdoor spaces across NewcastleGateshead.
  • Three trails will be created, focusing on arts, design and innovation that will inspire and be inspired by a major exhibition hub at the Great North Museum: Hancock (curated by our partners at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums); major new work commissioned by BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead.
  • Other important elements of The Great Exhibition of the North 2018 include inspiring opening and closing events, an entertaining and informative summer camp at Exhibition Park for families (part of an extensive learning and engagement programme) and a Business Expo.
  • The Great Exhibition will also be encouraging schools to get involved, with content available on the website from January, with schools able to both download teaching resources and upload their responses. The focus of these resources will be tailored to different Key Stages, and will provide content linked to the North and themes of the Exhibition. Schools will be able to follow up work developed in the classroom by booking a tailored visit to the Exhibition during the final four weeks of the summer term. 
  • The Great Exhibition of the North will provide a range of exciting volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and businesses. A team of over 1,000 volunteers will welcome visitors to NewcastleGateshead, interpreting themes of exhibition, lead school groups and provide event support at special one of occasions. Volunteers will be offered a unique training opportunity provide tools and skills to fulfil roles as well as being invited to exclusive previews, social gatherings and celebration events. Applications will open in the new year, training will be 15 hours between February to June and commit to 40 hours from 22nd June to 9th September 2018.
  • The Great Exhibition of the North is supported by Premier Partners, Virgin Trains.
  • Funding has also been secured via Heritage Lottery Fund Grant and Innovate UK.
  • Womble Bond Dickinson and Ward Hadaway are proud partners of Great Exhibition of the North.
  • Newcastle Airport and Reece Foundation are supporting partners of Great Exhibition of the North.
  • NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils, working with around 170 private sector partner organisations. Its mission is to inspire people to visit, and to live, learn work and invest in NewcastleGateshead and the wider region.
  • United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. World-class culture, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are combined here like nowhere else, by the famous Geordie spirit which is symbolised by Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North as it welcomes travellers to the area.


About Newcastle International Airport

  • Newcastle International Airport is the largest airport in the North East. It’s a jobs generator, supporting 12,200 jobs, including 3,200 onsite.
  • Newcastle International Airport is a public private partnership. Seven local authorities own 51% of the airport company; Durham County Council, Gateshead MB Council, Newcastle City Council, Northumberland Council, North Tyneside Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council. 49% is owned by AMP Capital.
  • The airport serves a catchment area of the North East, South Scotland, Cumbria, and North Yorkshire and contributes £646 million into the regional economy every year. In 2016, 4.8 million customers passed through its doors. Newcastle International connects to more than 80 destinations directly and provides customers with access to a wider global network via flights to London Heathrow, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Dublin, Copenhagen and Dubai.
  • In 2017, Newcastle International Airport was voted Britain’s best airport for a second successive year, as well as being named ‘Airport of the Year’ at the North of England Transport Awards.

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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