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Karate event returns to Scotland for first time in 30 years

Martial arts aficionados will get a kick out of a major karate conference which is coming to Stirling this summer.
The IOGKF European Gasshuku, which was secured by Scottish black belt Stevie Biggar with help from the Business Tourism Unit at VisitScotland, will be held at the University of Stirling from 28 July to 1 August.

More than 600 goju-ryu karate experts from around the world are expected to descend on the city for the conference, which is being held in Scotland for the first time in 30 years. The event, which will include training as well as seminars for top-level martial artists, is expected to generate more than £1.2 million for the local economy and will be attended by the legendary Morio Higaonna – 10th Dan and founder of the International Okinawan Goju-ryu Karate-do Federation.

Stevie Biggar, a 3rd Dan and Chairman of the Scottish Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Association (SGKA), said: “I have been looking forward to this for five years, when I first bid for the conference, and it’s an absolute dream to bring such a prestigious event to Scotland. Selling Stirling as a destination was vital to winning the bid, and the VisitScotland Business Tourism Unit were instrumental in helping us to promote the tourism aspect.

“I am looking forward to welcoming goju-ryu experts from around the world to Stirling this summer for what promises to be an unforgettable event.”

During the week of the event, karate delegates from countries such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Czech Republic will enjoy visits to popular local tourism spots such as the Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle, Loch Katrine and Bannockburn.

Kerry Watson, Associations Marketing Manager of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “Stirling is already gearing up for a memorable summer thanks to events such as Bannockburn Live, Armed Forces Day and Pipefest, and the staging of the European Gasshuku is another excellent coup for the city. The fact Stirling was named as the conference venue was just reward for Stevie’s hard work and enthusiasm and we were delighted to be able to help him put the bid together. Business tourism is a £1.9 billion industry and events such as this are key to driving Scotland’s visitor economy.”

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