On Friday, 7th September I travelled to Newcastle/Gateshead for the closing ceremony of the Great Exhibition of the North – a summer-long celebration of what the North of England has to offer in terms of tourism, art and culture in general.
The 80 day Exhibition was a roaring success with millions of people having visited the Exhibition in one form or another! One visitor to the Exhibition was His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge who I met when he visited a company called PROTO, the emerging technology centre whose work involves testing and creating new digital solutions for business.
The Great Exhibition was a tremendous showcase of design, innovation and culture which have, as the figures have shown, been a magnet for the North. Rough Guides ranked Newcastle/Gateshead as the number one place in the world to visit in 2018 with more than four million visitors over the summer – with a survey by the company showing that 75% of those people engaged with the Exhibition’s content during their visit. Hotel bookings also reached “record levels” with 363,000 hotel rooms occupied during the Exhibition. The four key venues of the Exhibition – the Sage, Baltic, Great North Museum and Discovery Museum – all saw a boost in visitor numbers with initial results suggesting a 55% rise in visitors to these destinations when compared to the previous summer.
The hard-working volunteers and staff at the Exhibition have helped to make it such a success creating a lasting legacy which has exemplified the very best of the North’s past, present and future.