Edinburgh conference venue forecasts return to pre-Covid activity and guns for North American growth

Bosses at one of Scotland’s largest conference venues are predicting a return to pre-pandemic level of activity in 2023.

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) is seeing a rebound in bookings as it also looks to increase business with North America.

The venue is said to have experienced a strong rebound in association and corporate business since reopening in September 2021, after Covid restrictions were lifted. This summer the EICC was once again a primary venue for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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The centre, which in recent years has hosted Barack Obama, climate conference Countdown Summit and TEDSummit, is aiming to increase the level of North American business as Edinburgh’s profile rises on the global stage. The EICC has been featuring this week alongside VisitScotland at IMEX America, the international trade show running at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

Bosses at the EICC said Scotland’s capital city has never been so accessible for North American business and leisure tourists. Airline operators including Delta have opened new routes into the city, including from Atlanta, the airline’s largest US hub. This will give access to many other US destinations, while Delta has also extended the frequency of existing routes including Boston and New York JFK.

EICC chief executive Marshall Dallas said: “Edinburgh, like Scotland, has so many close ties to North America. The city is experiencing record and well-documented popularity as a place to live, and a place to visit.

“When it comes to conferences and business events, in addition to our own venue, we have a multitude of historic sites in and around the city. Edinburgh also has an array of highly-rated hotels and restaurants, and incredible destinations within easy reach - the Highlands, Skye and the Hebrides islands, world renowned golf courses, and whisky distilleries.”

In June, the venue announced that it had taken on the management and operations of Edinburgh’s Convention Bureau to help drive the city’s business events sector.

The EICC opened its doors in 1995 and has since played host to more than 1.5 million delegates and over 3,500 events.

Dallas added: “Taking guardianship of the Convention Bureau puts us in a positive position to help create a thriving future for Edinburgh as a business events destination - which in turn brings great benefit to the local economy and a multitude of city partners.”

Also in June, Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced that it has entered a franchise agreement with the EICC for a 349-bedroom Hyatt Centric hotel in the Haymarket area of the city. This upscale hotel, set to open in 2025, will be Hyatt’s first hotel in Scotland.

The hotel school and training academy will partner with Edinburgh College, providing a pipeline of qualified people for Scotland’s leisure and tourism industry.

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In May, the EICC announced that it had secured a series of high-profile UK and international conferences for 2023, collectively bringing thousands of delegates to Edinburgh next year.

The EICC opened its doors in 1995 and has since played host to more than 1.5 million delegates, over 3,500 events and has generated some £750 million in economic impact for Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.

Throughout 2021, the venue served as Edinburgh’s main vaccination centre, and recommenced staging large scale conferences and events in September last year.

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EICC taking Convention Edinburgh reins and secures Hyatt as Haymarket hotel part...

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