‘Scotland has a wide range of venues with a long track record of holding events of every type and size. It can offer a change of culture with optimum accessibility and so should always be on the list of possibles when investigating a destination’, says Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Tourism, VisitScotland.Neil Brownlee illustrates the accessibility of Scotland from south of the border by pointing out that VisitScotland takes groups on site inspections and fam trips to Glasgow or Edinburgh or Inverness ‘and we can be there and back in the day’.
He emphasises that the range of venues is unlimited, that the smallest and the biggest events are welcome and that although, prices vary from venue to venue and location to location ‘Scotland always offers value for money’.
He is of the opinion that organisers may not update themselves about Scotland often enough. ‘We are constantly developing with new facilities and new ideas, so people should always take the trouble to investigate Scotland’s current situation before making a decision on a destination.’
Golf has always been a predominant consideration in Scotland, but it is not by any means the only one. As Neil points out, Scotland has grown rapidly as a specialist in the sectors of life sciences, medicine, energy, bio-energy and finance – and exhibitions and conventions relating to these have seen a rapid increase in recent years.
Riverside Museum adds to Glasgow’s great new venues
Glasgow Harbour is a whole district of Glasgow that is being regenerated to fulfil a new role now that its former role has become outdated. Partick, formerly an important centre for shipbuilding and import-export trade, is now buzzing with developers constructing residential estates and shopping facilities. Pride of place, however, is being given to the brand new Riverside Museum that will be opening shortly.
On what was the A&J Inglis shipyard on the Clyde the Riverside Museum will be yet another iconic landmark of which Glasgow can be proud. With an investment of £74m, it will be the new home of the Glasgow Museum of Transport, but also much more than that. Over one million visitors a year are predicted to come to the very accessible new location for hundreds of transport and technological exhibits, many newly acquired for the new site and many previously lying unseen due to lack of space. One new exhibit will be a huge steam locomotive, a goodwill gift from Spoornet, the South African railway company.
The river will be one of the forms of access that delegates will be able to use, adding to the whole experience when attending an event.
A Grand Central transformation
What was the historic centre city landmark, the Central Hotel, has now re-blossomed under the name Grand Central Hotel. The group Principal Hayley has invested £20m in its total refurbishment and now presents it as a 4-star superior conference and banqueting venue, as well as a highly comfortable and convenient base for a weekend incentive.
There are now 21 flexible event rooms, the largest able to seat up to 400.
Scottish National Arena
Already making a stir amongst MICE specialists is the construction of The Scottish National Arena that will become a neighbour to SECC in Glasgow and should take its place amongst the finest in Europe. Costing about £50m, it will be able to seat an audience of 12,500. Its flexibility for different kinds of entertainments and events will be achieved by a mix of fixed, tiered and demountable seating and a special use of curtaining to suit the needs of each occasion, according to the number of delegates.
Coinciding with its 25th anniversary, the Sheraton Edinburgh has completed a multi-millionpound bedroom refurbishment.
The 269 guestrooms have been renovated not only with comfort and convenience in mind, but also to make sure they are suited to the needs of business executives. Special attention has also been paid to make the new bathrooms particularly relaxing.
Park Inn Aberdeen, in the city centre, gives access to 52 golf courses
The newly opened Park Inn Aberdeen has 185 rooms overlooking either the harbour or the city centre. The ground floor houses eight modern meeting rooms that can seat up to 200 delegates.
The airport is less than seven miles away and exit from the city is rapid, so that guests can choose from 52 golf courses for a day’s play.