The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) is on track to report increased revenue and profits for 2018, buoyed by key events including an appearance by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The solid performance for the past year has also been supported by a strengthened sales team that has helped to drive growth across corporate and association business.
In spite of some wider industry concerns around the impact of Brexit, the capital venue has grown European association business during the year while continuing to develop revenue streams outside Europe.
The increased business from North America and China is expected to mitigate the Brexit-related impact over the next 12 to 24 months.
Financial results for the EICC have yet to be disclosed, but bosses said recent investment activity was set to pay off.
The previous year – 2017 – was a record one for the venue with delegate numbers up to almost 100,000 and some 200 conferences and events hosted. The economic impact for the city also increased to an estimated £55 million.
Marshall Dallas, chief executive of the EICC, said: “The investment we have made in the sales team combined with significantly stepping up contact with association clients inside and outside Europe has helped to mitigate the impact of Brexit on our business to date.
“The global events industry is as competitive as ever as we approach another year and our vision – to create an environment which inspires ideas that change the world – now runs through everything we do.”
Highlights in 2018 included Michelle Obama speaking at the venue in July while, in Scotland’s Year of Young People, the second year of intakes commenced the UK’s first MSc in business events management – a programme developed through a partnership between the EICC and Edinburgh Napier University.
Looking ahead to 2019, TEDSummit arrives at the venue in July with more than 1,000 delegates jetting into Edinburgh for an event that is set to contribute some £5m to the local economy.
At the recent IBTM World in Barcelona – the leading global event for the meetings and events industry – appointments from prospective international clients were at record levels, having doubled from the previous year, the EICC added.
Opened in 1995, the remit of the EICC is to drive economic impact to the city and to date it has helped add around £600m to the local economy while hosting in excess of one million delegates and 3,000 events.
The EICC is owned by the City of Edinburgh Council and operates at arm’s length as an independent commercial venture. Edinburgh is the highest ranked UK conference destination outside London according to global industry body the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).