Business delegates spend more than £200 million
Organisations from around the world are choosing Scotland to host key conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs, generating an estimated total delegate spend of £206 million, according to new Scottish Government figures.
The statistics published to mark Scottish Tourism Week 2016 show that 104 conferences have been supported by VisitScotland’s £3 million Conference Bid Fund between 2013 to 2024, with a further 61 bids pending.
More than 122,000 delegates will attend these conferences with an estimated total delegate spend of £206 million. The Conference Bid Fund has also attracted almost £2 million in match funding from local partners. This represents a gross return on taxpayer’s investment of fifty to one, showing the value of Business Tourism.
The top five destinations attracting these conferences through the Bid Fund are:
• Glasgow (44)
• Edinburgh (23)
• Inverness (15)
• Aberdeen (8)
• Perth (6)
The Fund has also supported conferences outside of major cities in Peebles, Kingussie, Stornoway, Orkney, Shetland and Pitlochry.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“The business tourism sector is a key driver of growth, and makes a strong contribution to the strength of tourism industry, which is worth almost £9 billion to the overall Scottish economy.
“These statistics confirm Scotland is a world-class conference venue destination – not just in our two largest cities – but across the country, in Inverness, Aberdeen, Perth and other smaller locations such as Peebles and Orkney.
“It is heartening to note, especially during Scottish Tourism Week, that for every pound spent from the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund, and match-funded by local partners, there is an estimated return of almost £52 in delegate spend. That is an excellent rate of return on public sector investment – and one that will continue to deliver for businesses right across Scotland between now and 2024.”
“This success not only makes a contribution to our economy, but also showcases Scotland as a shop window for all our country has to offer as a first-class location to invest, study, live, work and visit.”
Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, said:
“To boost the Scottish economy by more than £200 million from £2 million of investment is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the huge importance of the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund in attracting business events to this country. These are fixed, contracted conferences with specific delegate numbers that move around the world – we know what they are and what they bring, and it is great to have such business ‘on-the-books’ so far out.
“These events also create important links between industries, and offer unparalleled opportunities for knowledge exchange, education, legacy and potential investment in Scotland’s key sectors. This is way beyond ‘heads in beds’.
“And, of course, Scottish delegates attending events overseas can also play their part in securing a future conference for Scotland. I encourage them to sign up to the Think Scotland, Think Conference initiative and we will do the rest.”
Notes to Editors
Business Tourism includes association conferences, incentive programmes, corporate conferences and meetings, exhibitions and trade fairs.
The VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund, launched in March 2012 (and operated by VisitScotland), initially provided £2 million over 3 years to match-fund bids (for key sectors) to help attract major conferences to Scotland. Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism Fergus Ewing later announced to Parliament that a further £1 million of new money was to be made available for the VisitScotland Conference Bid fund during FY 2015/16.