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Stadium to shine a light on region's top businesses

The home of Sunderland AFC has scored a major contract after winning a bid host to one of the North East’s most prestigious events.
Sunderland’s Stadium of Light is celebrating after securing the reputable North East England Tourism Awards at the iconic venue.

Well known for its status in top flight football, the Stadium of Light has also established itself as one of the premier conference and events venues in the North East and is relishing welcoming the region’s most innovative businesses.

The North East England Tourism Awards, which will be held in November, honour the achievements of venues, attractions, hotels and service providers working in the tourism industry across the North East. The awards play a key part to the ongoing economic success of the region and are designed to celebrate the achievements of the businesses and individuals who deliver experiences for the 67 million visitors who choose to come to the North East every year.

Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at Sunderland AFC and 1879 Events Management said: “Sunderland AFC and 1879 Events Management is honoured to host the North East England Tourism Awards 2014 at the Stadium of Light. As a venue we welcome thousands of outside visitors every year and understand the importance of tourism to our regional economy.

“Hosting the awards is an absolute privilege but also a perfect match. As one of the North East’s most iconic venues, the Stadium of Light has had a huge impact on tourism in the region in recent years and we look forward to welcoming the region’s most innovative businesses to our venue in November”

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing agency, NewcastleGateshead Initiative said: “I am delighted that this year the Awards will take place at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, which itself is a visitor hotspot, not just in attracting football fans but also music fans with its successful programme of concerts.

“The North East England Tourism Awards give tourism businesses the chance to promote the many outstanding experiences they offer, and for those who go on to compete nationally at VisitEngland’s Excellence Awards, the opportunity to elevate this on the national stage.”

Sunderland AFC understands the criteria needed to win at the awards having won Gold in the Business Tourism category in 2009. Since then the club has launched 1879 Events Management, which manages all corporate and private functions at the stadium.

1879 Events Management has also expanded beyond the stadium and lent its skills and expertise to a wide range of events and functions across the North East which has helped boost the region’s tourism economy.

To date this has included the Sound Waves concert at Bents Park, South Shields, the annual LGBT festival Newcastle Pride and providing catering and management services at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

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