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Ambassador programme brings £900m to Edinburgh over 20 years

Convention Edinburgh’s ambassador programme has generated £900m for the city since 1996, according to new figures

Pictured: Ambassador of the Year James Garden and Convention Edinburgh's Lesley Williams

Convention Edinburgh’s ambassador programme has generated £900 million for the local economy over the last two decades, according to figures released to celebrate the programme’s 20th anniversary.

Since its inception in 1996, the Edinburgh Ambassador Programme, its members and their local experts have brought 528,605 delegates to 1,348 events in the city.  

Representatives from Edinburgh’s business, scientific and academic elite came together to celebrate the landmark results with an awards dinner at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “Thanks to their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication, our local ambassadors have made a significant contribution to our city, not only in raising the profile of Edinburgh as a global centre of excellence, but also in making a £900 million financial contribution to its local economy.” 

Awards included the VisitScotland #ScotSpirit award, presented to Jessie Kennedy, dean of research and innovation at Edinburgh Napier University; the In Conference Ltd Rising Star, awarded to Richard Reardon, senior lecturer in equine surgery at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies; and the Conference Legacy Award, sponsored by the EICC, which went to the Rehabilitation International Congress 2016. 

Marshall Dallas, EICC chief executive, said: “Conferences leave behind a crucial legacy that stretches far beyond financial benefits for the city or reputation building. Tonight’s Legacy Award winner, the Rehabilitation International Congress, is the ideal example. Ahead of next month’s conference, EICC and the Shaw Trust conducted and acted on a comprehensive disability audit, the results of which have improved the venue’s accessibility for all our future visitors.”

The Convention Edinburgh Ambassador of the Year Award recognised the decades of work and support of pancreatic disease specialist Professor James Garden to bring multiple conferences and meetings to Edinburgh.

Garden said: “The Ambassador Programme is about making best use of this important network and contributing to that network. 

“Edinburgh is a fantastic city and its success as host destination should never be taken for granted. When it comes to history, innovation, architecture and culture, I cannot think of any other city in the world that ticks all the boxes. The Ambassador Programme is the ideal way to showcase all that Edinburgh has to offer and it delights me to promote the city that I live in and love to be associated with.”

Overseen by Convention Edinburgh, the business tourism arm of the city’s official marketing agency, Marketing Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Ambassador Programme has more than 500 members, working together to promote Edinburgh as a host destination for national and international conferences and events. 

Elaine Miller, ambassador and association bid manager at Convention Edinburgh, said: “Our ambassadors are some of the world’s most innovative minds in science, medicine and technology. We’re privileged to have such as high calibre of passionate advocates of Edinburgh in our programme, each working tirelessly to bring influential global conferences to our city.

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