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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Business is Brisk for Business Tourism

Capitalising on an increase in enquiries from US and European buyers considering Scotland as a destination for conferences and events, VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit (BTU) is stepping up its presence at international trade shows.


With new inbound flights from Europe increasing all the time, and the strength of the Euro making Scotland good value for money, interest in Scotland from countries like Germany and France is high. The North American market is equally buoyant with the value of enquiries to the BTU in 2011/12 up almost 75 per cent to £69 million from companies in such sectors as food and drink and financial services.


At an international trade show in Frankfurt this week, in partnership with eleven top Scottish tourism businesses, the country has been showcased on the biggest Scottish stand in recent years. VisitScotland’s attendance at last year’s show alone delivered an unprecedented £3.3 million in enquiries to bring large events to Scotland – the tourism sector that is worth over £800 million to the Scottish economy. The BTU will also be represented at major US trade shows in June aimed at two of the most valuable markets – incentive trips and large international association conferences. 


Lindsay Brown, UK marketing manager for the BTU, said: “Business tourism is a lucrative sector and consequently we are operating on a fiercely competitive global stage.  We need to ensure that we are placing resources where they can deliver best benefit for our industry both at home and abroad.  In recent years we have seen renewed interest from not just Europe, but North America as well, and overall our conversion rate is running at a healthy 20 per cent of enquiries, up 25 per cent on the previous year.


“We are pleased that our partner organisations at IMEX in Frankfurt will include the convention bureaux from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as venues representing some of the £2 billion infrastructure investments currently underway in Scotland.”


In total, the BTU organises, or participates in, over 60 marketing activities a year designed either to take a flavour of Scotland to buyers through attendance at international events, or to give international buyers the opportunity to experience for themselves what their clients can expect by bringing delegates here.