Tourism industry seeks business champions

Sector “champions” are being recruited to help drum up new leads in Scotland’s multi-million pound business tourism industry.

Launched tonight by tourism minister Fergus Ewing, the Think Scotland, Think Conference (TSTC) campaign aims to generate an additional £1.3 million in economic impact in its first year. It has been developed as a key component in the national strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020, and is led by the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

TSTC will identify “champions” in key business sectors such as financial services, food and drink, energy and renewables, life sciences and engineering. They will be encouraged to promote Scotland as a venue for conferences and other meetings by professionals in their field, with a particular focus on events that have not previously taken place in this country.

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Business tourism is worth £782m to the Scottish economy, and accounts for 18 per cent of total tourism expenditure in this country. Speaking at the TSTC launch at Edinburgh Castle, Ewing highlighted the sector’s continuing potential for growth.

“Not only does tourism – in all forms – bring tens of thousands of delegates to Scotland, but the events also act as a shop window for all our country has to offer,” he said.

“This not only makes a contribution to our economy, it is also an opportunity to showcase Scotland as a premiere location to invest, study, live, work and visit.”

Judy Rae of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said champions who put Scotland’s name forward would receive the back-up of additional support and resources. TSTC is also working with Scottish Enterprise and its partners, such as Scottish Development International and Global Scots, to reach out to those in business who have an affinity to Scotland.

“Business events can benefit all corners of Scotland, year-round,” said Rae, who is also head of events at Glasgow Science Centre.

“It can mean a large meeting in a city conference centre, a corporate think-tank meeting involving exclusive use of a castle on Loch Ness, or a team-building escape in the Western Isles.”