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Monday, September 07, 2015

Dumfries Launches Think Scotland, Think Conference

Dumfries Set to Launch Wave 2 of Successful Think Scotland, Think Conference Initiative

A national business tourism campaign, Think Scotland, Think Conference (TSTC), is set to build on its summer success with the launch of its second strategic phase in Dumfries & Galloway this month.


Engaging directly with the region’s commercial and private industry leaders, TSTC aims to raise awareness and profile of the region’s businesses tourism capabilities, by showcasing the excellent conference offering available to delegates in Dumfries & Galloway. Crucially, the evening will also promote the benefits and the support available to lure prestigious and lucrative conferences and business events both to the Dumfries & Galloway Region and across Scotland.


Co-hosted by Business Tourism for Scotland (BTfS) Dumfries & Galloway Council, and Conference Dumfries, key decision-makers will gather on 15 September at the new Annandale Distillery, to learn more about the ambitions of TSTC and its success to date.  Cllr Colin Smyth will introduce the opportunities for the region, while Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Tourism at VisitScotland will outline the key benefits of business tourism within the region and Scotland. Caroline Mackenzie, Director of Association Services at Zibrant and representative of BTfS will also present, outlining the initiative and how Dumfries & Galloway stakeholders can support and engage with the initiative.


Launched by Minster for Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP in January this year, the first phase of TSTC has seen almost 300 leading business influencers from organisations as diverse as HSBC, Shepherd & Wedderburn and Strathearn Distillery join events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Perth, Aviemore and Dundee.


Momentum continues to build as the second wave of TSTC gets underway with a pan-Scotland launch on 15 September, that will see a sister event take place in Inverness. This will be followed by TSTC sessions in Aberdeen on 22 September and Dunfermline on 24 September.


Public sector support for the TSTC initiative is also strong, demonstrated by level of key-note speakers attending the previous six events this year, which included Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP, VisitScotland’s Chief Executive, Malcom Roughead and Danny Cusick, Sector Director – Tourism, Food & Drink and Textiles at Scottish Enterprise.


Caroline Mackenzie, Director of Association Services at Zibrant and representative of BTfS for the TSTC Dumfries event said: “I’m a passionate believer that business tourism is about more than tourism, it’s an economic driver that brings substantial and far reaching benefits to the wider region. With TSTC we are directly engaging with business leaders, simply asking them to consider putting Dumfries & Galloway forward as the next host location for their organisation’s next annual conference, team building or incentive event.


“VisitScotland calculate tourism currently generates £193m visitor spend Dumfries & Galloway, supporting 5,700 local jobs. Business tourism plays a crucial role in generating that economic spend and with new venues such as Annandale Distillery and innovations and collaborations such Conference Dumfries, the opportunity is there for the taking.”  


Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Tourism at VisitScotland said:

“Think Scotland, Think Conference allows us to reach non-traditional influencers who can use their contacts and position within their organisation to suggest or encourage the consideration of Scotland for future business events. This could be for the company they work for, or another conference that they currently attend outside of Scotland.


“The beauty of TSTC is that these influencers, or corporate champions, need not worry about the feasibility, logistics or detail of bringing a business event here, such as how many bedrooms or seats a particular venue in Inverness has. My Business Events team at VisitScotland will do all of that – Think Scotland, Think Conference is simply saying “send us the lead – we’ll do the rest”.”


With business tourism events currently worth £1.9bn annually to the Scottish economy, TSTC, has been developed by industry group BTfS to lead the challenge of growing business tourism by £400m (21%) to £2.3bn by 2020, (21%).  TSTC is being delivered as a key strand of Scotland’s national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020, co-ordinated by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA). 



To attend the Dumfries & Galloway event on 15 September please contact: or call 0141 357 2235


For more information on the planned event in Inverness, Dumfries & Galloway, Aberdeen and Dunfermline visit:   @biztourismscot #TSTC2015

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