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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Tourism Minister Unveils £2m Conference Fund

Scotland is set to boost its reputation as a host of major international conferences, following the announcement of a new bid fund.

VisitScotland is offering £2 million over the next three years, with the aim of making Scotland more competitive within the international conference market.

Announcing the new bid fund, Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Tourism Minister, said:

“I’m excited to launch The Conference Bid Fund as it will build the competitiveness of Scotland’s cities and destinations within the international conference market.  

“We join the likes of Hong Kong, Vienna, Vancouver and Washington in supporting our business tourism industry in this way.

“The Fund will help attract high yield, high spend international conferences linked to Scotland’s areas of expertise in industry, commerce or science and medicine. 

“It will build on the great success that Scotland already has in this area and boost our economy in the process.”

The initial application must specify to which of the 12 Scottish Government Target Sectors the conference adheres.

The Target Sectors include: Aerospace, defence and marine; Business Processing Operations (BCO); chemical sciences; creative industries; education; energy; financial services; food and drink; ICT and electronic technologies; life sciences; textiles; and tourism.

Business tourism is worth over £800m to the Scottish economy with business visitors spending 1.5 times that of leisure visitors per night.

Businesses set to benefit from the fund through successful bids will include city convention bureau, destination management organisations and consortiums of business tourism related interested parties.

Neil Brownlee, Head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “Scotland has so much to offer delegates in terms of our world-class venues, our spectacular scenery, our fantastic food and drink, our history, our golf and so much more.

“We have listened to the wants and needs of the industry and developed a fund that fills a gap and benefits Scotland by allowing us to continue to punch above our weight within the international conference market.”