Marine Renewables experts flying in from around the worldScotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, says that the renewable energy conference being held in Stornoway from 30 April to 1 May is expected to contribute up to £350,000 to the local economy.
On the island of Lewis for a Scottish Government Cabinet meeting, he welcomed the fact that about 220 experts from around the world would attend the EIMR (Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables).
The conference aims to show how marine energy technologies can be integrated into coastal areas in a sustainable manner. It will also demonstrate why the Outer Hebrides is ‘one of the best marine energy resources in Europe’.
The 2-day event, supported by the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund, is organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands. It will be held in the An Lanntair Arts Centre and will be supplemented by two days of workshops and field trips. The conference will showcase the findings of the Hebridean Marine Energy Futures project, as well as give delegates from areas such as North America, China, Australia the chance to visit the proposed site of the world’s largest wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis.
The First Minister added: ‘We’ve already seen that the whole of Scotland has a wealth of distinctive venues and top class accommodation and VisitScotland’s Conference Bid Fund is attracting major business events that bring an immediate economic stimulus to Scotland, showcasing to an international audience the rich assets that Scotland has to offer to global businesses.’
Neil Brownlee, Head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit (BTU), says: ‘The Conference Bid Fund highlights the long-term potential and sustainable nature of business tourism and business events in Scotland and has helped to attract conferences to all corners of Scotland.
‘Events such as EIMR are hugely important to Scotland’s visitor economy, providing a boost for accommodation providers and restaurants. I am sure it will help to highlight the appeal of Lewis and Harris as a fantastic leisure destination and place to do business.’
Set up in 2012, the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund has helped to secure conferences in Scotland with a predicted spend by attendees of £106m. So far, 46 international association conferences –up to the year 2021 – have been secured from Bid Fund investments totalling £936,000. This has been match-funded by local authorities from around the country for selected not-for-profit conferences.
The conferences, which are expected to attract a total of around 62,000 delegates, cover everything from life sciences and education to food and drink as well as renewable energy. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee have all been making use of the Bid Fund, with other conferences taking place in Perth, St Andrews and Shetland.