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£70 million boost for Scotland’s conference industry

An influx of conferences from all over the world is set to boost the Scottish economy by more than £70 million, it has been announced.
The events, which cover everything from life sciences and education, to food and drink and renewable energy, successfully applied for support from the VisitScotland Bid Fund, which was set up last March.

To date, £722,000 worth of support has helped to confirm 29 conferences, which will bring a combined 44,000 delegates to Scotland over the next five years.  

The Conference Bid Fund is designed to help attract conferences to all areas of Scotland, not just those taking place at city centre venues, and vary in size. Recent examples include the Adventure Conference on Skye, which was attended by 70 adventure experts from around the globe and, earlier this month, the Society of Biblical Literature which brought more than 850 delegates to the University of St Andrews, benefiting the local economy by around £1.7m.  

Neil Brownlee, Head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “The VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund is hugely important to Scotland. Business tourism is a key sector supporting not only conference centres and hotels throughout the country, but hundreds of other operators not normally associated with tourism, such as AV companies, independent caterers and unique venues.  

“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.  A recent industry report, the UK equivalent of similar research commissioned by the US Meetings Industry, found that business tourism is worth a staggering £1.9 billion to the Scottish economy.  

“It really is a shop window for Scotland and as we prepare to welcome the world to our shores in 2014 with Homecoming, the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games, there is no better time to showcase our remarkable country to the world.”

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