Edinburgh boosted by soaring business tourism demand

Business tourism in Edinburgh has soared since the start of 2017, with five new bid wins equating to 3,400 delegates, contributing £7 million to the local economy.

The business tourism arm of Marketing Edinburgh hailed a 'strong start' to 2017. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Convention Edinburgh, the business tourism division of Marketing Edinburgh, said it constituted a “solid start” to 2017 for the Scottish capital, the UK’s leading international meetings destination ­outside London.

The group said recent confirmed wins include the European Group for Organisational Studies Colloquium (EGOS) taking place in July 2019 with 1,200 delegates expected, bringing a total of £4m in ­economic benefit to the city.

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In April 2018, the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) will host its 22nd annual conference in the city bringing 600 delegates and £732,000 to the local economy.

On a similar scale, Eurocities will host its conference in November 2018, bringing 500 delegates and £977,000 to the economy.

Lesley Williams, head of business tourism at Convention Edinburgh, said: “We’re off to a really strong start for 2017 and can only see this strengthening over the remainder of the year.

“Despite challenges and uncertainties brought about by Brexit, it’s great to see Edinburgh consistently attracting high-profile events and conferences. The city is truly cementing itself as a global competitor.”

Professor Stephen Osborne, conference host of IRSPM (2018) and chair of International Public Management at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Finding good conference venues for the IRSPM annual conference is always a challenging and competitive process, as many institutions bid to host the conference.

“However, Edinburgh’s ­combination of outstanding conference facilities, excellent international travel links and host of social and other activities to supplement the conference programme, make it a stand-out choice.” Convention Edinburgh said the city’s ­facility offering for conferences was strengthening, with recent developments including a multi-million pound redevelopment of the historical venue of Edinburgh First’s McEwan Hall, part of the University of Edinburgh,

The Sandman Hotel Group is to open its third UK hotel, in Aberdeen, at a cost of £20m, on the site of the former ­Robert Gordon University’s school of computing on St Andrew Street. The company said that the 218-room hotel will create 200 jobs and open in early 2018.