VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund generating ‘remarkable’ returns

Scottish tourism minister Fergus Ewing said business tourism is a growing and important contributor to the Scottish economy. Picture: TSPL

Scottish tourism minister Fergus Ewing said business tourism is a growing and important contributor to the Scottish economy. Picture: TSPL

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A FUND set up three years ago to encourage conferences to take place in Scotland is expected to help generate more than £200 million for the economy north of the Border, more than 100 times the amount invested, it was revealed yesterday

A fund set up three years ago to encourage conferences to take place in Scotland is expected to help generate more than £200 million for the economy north of the Border, more than 100 times the amount invested, it was revealed yesterday.

The progress by the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund, from its investment of less than £2m, has been described as a “remarkable achievement”.

To date it has secured 97 conferences across Scotland, in all seven of its cities. Some supported events are booked in as far ahead as 2022, and delegate numbers have reached up to 5,000.

The fund provides financial assistance on match-funding subvention, by a destination organisation or local authority, and conferences must ­correspond with Scottish Government target sectors, such as aerospace, defence and marine, financial services, and food and drink.

Conferences secured include last year’s Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables, and this year’s Global Mountains of the Future and Commonwealth Law Conference.

Scottish tourism minister Fergus Ewing said business tourism is a “growing and important contributor to the Scottish economy”. He added: “As such I warmly welcome today’s news that, since its launch in 2012, VisitScotland’s Conference Bid Fund has shown excellent outcomes from our investment, helping attract conferences to Scotland.

“This predicted rate of return is one of the most successful we have seen and has successfully supported conferences from Shetland to Peebles and Skye to Perth, and I look forward to welcoming more business visitors to Scotland over the coming years.”

Neil Brownlee, head of business events at VisitScotland, said: “To boost the Scottish economy by £200m from less than £2m of investment is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the huge importance of the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund in attracting business events to this country.”

He also said the business events industry supports not just conference centres and hotels across Scotland, “but also hundreds of other operators not normally associated with tourism” including the likes of independent caterers and venues.

Business events make up 20 per cent of all tourism spend in Scotland, VisitScotland noted.

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