Scotland is stumping up £2m over the next
three years to attract bigger and more lucrative meetings to its shores – with
the focus on science and knowledge-based industries.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said the fund would help ‘build the
competitiveness of Scotland’s
cities and destinations within the international conference market.’
The money will be made available to convention bureau and destination marketing
organisations bidding for events which relate to 12 government target sectors. VisitScotland
will distribute the cash which must be match-funded.
Ewing said: “We join the likes of Hong Kong, Vienna,
Vancouver and Washington in supporting our business
tourism industry in this way. The fund will help attract high-yield, high-spend
international conferences linked to Scotland’s areas of expertise in
industry, commerce or science and medicine. It will build on the great success
already has in this area and boost our economy in the process.”
The target sectors include: Aerospace, defence and marine; business processing
operations (BCO); chemical sciences; creative industries; education; energy;
financial services; food and drink; ICT and electronic technologies; life
sciences; textiles; and tourism.
Business tourism is worth more than £800m to the Scottish economy with business
visitors spending approximately 1.5 times that of leisure visitors per night.
Neil Brownlee, head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “We have
listened to the wants and needs of the industry and developed a fund that fills
a gap and benefits Scotland
by allowing us to continue to punch above our weight within the international
Hans H Rissmann, CEO of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, was one
of the first to welcome the news. He said: "Our international competitors
make excellent use of this type of subvention and business tourism in Scotland
will be boosted by this fund if local authorities can meet the requirement to
provide matching funding.”
Pictured L-R: Mike Cantley, Fergus Ewing and Neil Brownlee