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Edinburgh breaks records as UK’s top business tourism hotspot outside London

Convention Edinburgh, the business tourism arm of the city’s official marketing agency, Marketing Edinburgh, has reported its most successful year to date, securing new conference and event bid wins worth £94.3 million to the local economy and a 10,000 boost in delegate numbers.   

Representing a £2.8 million increase on last year’s (2014/15) economic impact figures, 206 future conferences, set to attract 74,400 thousand delegates, were won by Convention Edinburgh and its members during the last 12 months.     

High profile conferences secured over the last year include the Rehabilitation International Congress, in October 2016, PIBD 2021 and June’s International Cricket Council Conference 2016.  

The city also welcomed some of business tourism leading bodies and influencers, including hosting PCMA Global Medical Leaders’ Summit in November 2015 and most recently the IAPCO Council in April 2016.   

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, Edinburgh’s successful and 500 strong Ambassador Programme is a perfect example of the building momentum behind Convention Edinburgh.  In the last 12 months, over 50 new ambassadors, particularly from Life Sciences and Commerce & Industry have joined the programme, each identifying potential new conferences that Edinburgh could successfully host.  

John Donnelly, Chief Executive, Marketing Edinburgh said: “This is great news for the city of Edinburgh and testament to the hard work of everyone involved. 2015/16 was a crucial year in Convention Edinburgh’s ongoing strategic development, not only in terms of bid win success, but positive client response.    

While attracting global international associations remains a priority, particularly through our work with BestCities Global Alliance, we continue to invest in developing Edinburgh’s unique value proposition to a whole range of audiences, particularly in North America and Europe. Crucially, our active and influential Ambassador Programme has played an integral part helping us achieve our record breaking results – which I’m sure this will continue to do for the next twenty years.”  

Lesley Williams, Head of Business Tourism at Convention Edinburgh said: “With conference and delegate numbers strengthening year on year, there is a huge amount of potential future growth in the city.  As a destination bureau, Convention Edinburgh’s role is evolving.

While supporting our clients in sourcing venues and accommodation remain important, increasingly we are playing a wider part in helping to shape conferences and build relevant connections for our clients. This is particularly true in emerging areas such as legacy development.

There is a growing ambition with meeting organisers to leave a lasting legacy within a host city, creating wider benefits that can continue to grow and outlive their event.  As the conduit between local businesses, charities, academia and government, Convention Edinburgh is ideally placed to work with the client to help develop their legacy ambitions and bring about positive change.”    

Councillor Gavin Barrie, Economy Convener, City of Edinburgh Council, said “For Convention Edinburgh and its members to successfully bring more conferences to Scotland’s capital city than ever before is a tremendous achievement and result of a huge collaborative effort.  

“Along with increasing the economic value of conferences and events to Edinburgh by more than £3 million pounds, the number of expected delegates has also increased by 10,000. These are significant figures, which will have a far reaching and a long lasting, positive impact on the city’s economy for years to come.”  

Currently ranked 35 in the world’s city rankings according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and 20th in Europe, Edinburgh annually holds more international meetings than any other UK city outside of London.    

Next year’s annual results are already off to a flying start, with Edinburgh just announced as the host city of the biennial International Council for Commercial Arbitration Congress 2020, expected to attract 1,200 delegates and generate £2 million in local economic impact. 

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