Unprecedented attendance at hospitality industry expo

May 25, 2023

HITS Expo 2023 saw a culmination of inspiring conversation, industry insights, a focus on skills and innovation and the elevation of businesses from across the North of Tyne and beyond.

Held from the 3rd-4th of May at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Newcastle, the event saw over 700 people gather from across the spectrum of the hospitality and tourism industry – from school children finding career inspiration, industry students from universities and colleges to established practitioners and professionals in the sector.

The HITS Expo ran as part of the Hospitality, Innovation, Tourism Supply (HITS) programme, funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) in partnership with Food and Drink North East (FADNE) and Northumberland Business Services Limited (NBSL).

This programme supports businesses of all sizes in Northumberland, Newcastle, and North Tyneside to address industry challenges and drive forward innovative new ideas.

The Expo provided a recipe of industry insights, career spotlights, trade stands, live demonstrations and networking opportunities. It will also comprised inter-College competitions, the NECTA Chef of the Year award and welcomed many school children, inspiring the next generation of talent and fostering essential collaboration by tourism and hospitality.

Speakers included Sarah Green, CEO, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Neil Carney, Head of Destination Strategy, Visit Northumberland, Dr Kate Harland, Northumbria University and Keith Merrin, NewcastleGateshead Cultural Venues.

Discussion themes included inclusivity, sustainability, skills, the future of tourism and food chains.

Ian Thomas, Destination Director at Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, said:
“The tourism and hospitality industry in the North of Tyne area is worth just under £2.6bn and employs over 33,000 people. Therefore, it is incredibly important to celebrate and support it with insights and inspiration at events like these.

“It is fantastic to see so many exciting businesses under one roof to drive innovation within the sector. There is huge scope and opportunity for tourism and hospitality students to learn from industry and find out more about future careers within the sector.

“As well as inspire future generations, it is also incredibility important to share insights and learning around recruitment, skills, sustainability, innovation, inclusivity, and accessibility – all key areas for growth and vital to the future success of our industry”.

Chris Jewitt, Founder and CEO, Food and Drink North East, said:
“The work that we do is all about the coming together of industry – removing the barriers and connecting the dots between hospitality, tourism and food and drink supply chain.

“The HITS Expo is an ambitious attempt to do just that by celebrating the very best of what’s on our doorstep. Two days of industry insight, inspiration, and showcasing the region’s emerging culinary talent. It’s an exciting moment in our collaboration with NGI.”

The HITS Expo also included live ‘Beyond The Kitchen Table’ final pitches, where small and micro businesses sold-in their products to buyers, retailers and suppliers and showcase their ranges in the Producers Market.

Plus the event included interactive demonstrations, recruitment showcases, B2B trade stands, street food suppers and live entertainment. It gave all participants and visitors the chance to try new things, meet new people and learn more about the industry.

To find out more please visit HITS Expo