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Scotland to host leaders' summit for business events industry

International leaders in the business events industry are set to attend a high-level gathering of influencers, policy-makers and business people in Scotland next month.

Leading figures from the global MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) industry will fly into the country for the inaugural Business Events Leaders’ Summit.

The one-day conference, hosted by Scottish events industry trade magazine EventsBase, will take place at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow on Wednesday, March 21st.

The summit reflects efforts by MICE professionals to move business events ‘upstream’ in private sector thinking as well as public economic policy-making, a long-standing aim of Business Tourism for Scotland and the national tourism agency, VisitScotland.

It will spotlight how new research is reshaping the industry at a strategic level – placing business events at the heart of development plans for major destinations around the globe.

Leading MICE practitioners and researchers from Australia, Singapore, Ireland and The Netherlands will join a Scottish and UK audience for the event.

Judy Rae, Chair of Business Tourism for Scotland (BTfS), said: “This is an enormously important event on the calendar for Business Events in Scotland and we are looking forward to providing a platform for the very latest in international research, which is driving change in our industry.

“Our national events industry magazine EventsBase has put together a first-class programme, packed full of top-class speakers who will demonstrate how business events are playing an increasingly important part in the wider context of how governments - both national and local - set their economic, social and communities visions.

“We are enormously excited to be welcoming this first event to Glasgow and hope to stimulate some great debate about how Business Events can add value to Scotland PLC.”

The event will showcase the ‘Beyond Tourism’ agenda, which looks to demonstrate the lasting economic and social value of business events to society, and how the real value of business events goes beyond traditional tourism-related metrics, like direct spend on hotels and restaurants. The event will provide a platform for work undertaken by two leading Australian academics, who are influencing how business events are delivered in Sydney and whose work is being showcased as international best practice.

Dr Carmel Foley and Dr Deborah Edwards, from the University of Technology Sydney, will deliver the keynote: The Power of Conferences, Stories of serendipity, innovation and driving social change, named from the title of a book they co-authored in 2017.

The book explores the long-term impacts of conferences and the Associate Professors’ work has been cited as a key influence on the decision of the city to invest $1.5bn (AUS) in the new ICC Sydney convention centre.

The duo are currently collaborating with the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) on the Event Case Study Programme, an international project that is redefining the value proposition of the global business events industry.

They said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be attending the Business Events Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow. It is a brilliant opportunity to meet leaders in the industry including Economic Sector Heads. Forums focused on thought leadership are always great places to be – we are sure there are going to be many ‘ah ha’ moments for those in attendance. What a brilliant initiative from Kevin and the teams at Eventsbase and Business Tourism for Scotland.”

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events, VisitScotland, added: “Our own, ‘Legends’, and INNOVATETHENATION campaigns have already shown what can be done to bring greater collaboration between the business events industry and the development of the wider economy. We know that business events are catalysts for economic and social progress. I’m delighted that Scotland is leading and hosting such an exciting new international initiative. I urge all senior leaders interested in the debate about moving our industry further up the economic agenda to attend this Summit.”

Sessions at the event include: ‘The Power of Conferences: Stories of serendipity, innovation and driving social change’, ‘Identifying and Activating Key Markets’, ‘the Makings of a Tech City’ and ‘Developing the Meetings Industry’.

Contributors: Martin Sirk, CEO of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association); Jeannie Lim, Executive Director Conventions, Meetings & Incentive Travel division of the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau; John Sharkey, Executive Vice President for Europe for SMG; Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland & Board Member, PCMA; Sam Johnston, Manager, Dublin Convention Bureau; Linda Hanna, Managing

Director, Strategy and Sectors, Scottish Enterprise; Tracy Halliwell MBE, London & Partners; Carina Bauer, CEO IMEX Group; Kerrin MacPhie, Head of Business Events, VisitBritain.

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