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Friday, June 22, 2012

New national conference bid fund reaps early success


VisitScotland’s newly launched £2 million national bid fund aimed at attracting more business tourism to Scotland over the next three years has already begun reaping benefits for the Scottish economy.
 

Glasgow has become the first city to prosper under the new scheme with a raft of major conference wins, helping to boost the city’s economy by £27 million and in the process beating off stiff competition from some of the world’s leading conference destinations, including Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris, London, Lisbon, Vienna, Copenhagen and Gothenburg.
 

Introduced in March by VisitScotland, the new conference subvention bid fund, which is match-funded by cities, is geared at increasing Scotland’s competitiveness within the international conventions market.
 

It is aimed at helping destinations across the country to put together the best possible bids and attract high-yield conferences, linked to Scotland’s areas of expertise in industry, commerce, science and medicine.
 

Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) has secured seven major domestic and international conventions through to 2020 covering everything from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Healthcare to the Renewables UK Offshore Wind Energy Conference and the World Biomaterials Congress.
 

Collectively, these seven conferences will bring almost 17,000 delegates from across the world to Glasgow, generating around 80,000 hotel room nights, and provide a £27 million boost to the local economy.
 
Business tourism is worth over £800 million to the Scottish economy with business visitors spending 1.5 times that of leisure visitors per night.
 

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The Conference Bid Fund is allowing Scottish venues to compete successfully against the big hitters in the business conference sector such as Tokyo and San Francisco and the approach is paying dividends.
 

"It is building on the great success that Scotland already has in this area and boosting our economy in the process. Glasgow has really seized the initiative and VisitScotland is working with other destinations around the country to ensure similar success stories for the future."
 

Conference delegates account for one in five hotel beds sold in Glasgow, underscoring the importance of conventions to the city’s economy.
 

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “Glasgow City Marketing Bureau has been at the forefront of bringing together venues, hotels, support services and creative industries in the city to present a united meeting and incentive product to conference organisers across the world.
 

“To have secured seven major new conferences through to 2020, at a time when competition in the market is incredibly fierce, is a clear endorsement of the confidence that the meetings industry continues to have in Glasgow and further strengthens the city’s reputation as one of the world’s premier business tourism destinations.”
 

Neil Brownlee, Head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “I’m delighted to see the benefits the Conference Bid Fund is already delivering. Scotland competes magnificently on the global stage and when it comes to the conference market, the fund will not only help Scotland maintain this position but indeed push on and develop further.”




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