Commissioned by the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation, the UK Economic Impact Study (UKEIS) is the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of the industry on the British economy ever carried out.
The groundbreaking methodology used is a globally accepted model that has been utilised in Canada, the USA, Australia, Mexico and Denmark.
The extensive research, revealed today at The Meetings Show UK in London, also showed that, in 2011, Scotland hosted 86,524 meetings, of which Edinburgh hosted 28,553.
As well as conference and event venues, the business tourism industry has an impact on the wider visitor economy in Scotland, benefitting cities, towns, universities, resorts, transport, retail, food and drink and much more.
In total, found the report, the UK meeting industry delivers £58.4 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is the UK’s 16th largest employer, which more than half a million people directly employed.
Neil Brownlee, Head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “This long awaited report is the UK equivalent of similar research commissioned by the US meetings industry two years ago. It confirms that the meetings industry, or business tourism as we call it here, is an absolutely key sector supporting not only conference centres and hotels, but thousands of other operators not normally associated with tourism, such as AV companies and activity providers.
“It also reminds us that while tourism is one of the Scottish Government’s key target sectors, business tourism uniquely pulls from all the other sectors such as Life Sciences, Energy and Food & Drink. It really is a shop window for Scotland.”
The research was carried out by the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) at Leeds Metropolitan University.