Leaders of Scotland’s business tourism industry gathered on the 14th of January to launch brand new initiative Think Scotland, Think Conference (TSTC), which aims to grow this crucial area of Scotland’s tourism sector as part of Scotland’s national tourism strategy.
Launched at Edinburgh Castle by Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing, MSP, the initiative, developed by the Scottish business tourism industry, will work with champions in Scotland’s key business sectors. Such champions will then aim to generate enquiries for events within their fields. This national campaign is a first for Europe and is aimed specifically at attracting new events, which would not otherwise have taken place in Scotland.
As a fresh strand of business tourism advocacy, TSTC is aimed at champions from both UK and international organisations, who can influence decision-makers over the location of business events.
Hosting the launch of the project, Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Our business tourism sector is a key driver of growth, and makes a strong contribution to the economic vitality of Scotland’s key tourism destinations. Not only does business tourism – in all forms - bring tens of thousands of delegates to Scotland, but the events also act as a shop window for all our country has to offer. This not only makes a contribution to our economy, it is also an opportunity to showcase Scotland as a premiere location to invest, study, live, work and visit.
“It is vital that we continue to build on this success by providing support to our business tourism sector, which has long benefited from Scotland’s reputation as a world-class conference venue destination.”
Comprising visitors to Scotland whose trip is related to conferences, meetings and incentive travel, business tourism is worth £782 million to the Scottish economy. TSTC is being delivered as a key strand of implementing Scotland’s national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020 (TS2020). The Scottish Tourism Alliance is charged with rolling out TS2020, and this initiative reflects the industry’s appetite to lead on tourism growth.
Judy Rae, Head of Events at Glasgow Science Centre and the Scottish Tourism Alliance lead on Business Tourism explained:
“Business events can benefit all corners of Scotland, year-round. It can be a large meeting in a city conference centre, a corporate think tank meeting involving exclusive use of a castle on Loch Ness or a team building escape in the Western Isles. Scotland has what it takes to create truly outstanding business events, based around the high quality and inspirational experiences that we can offer. Hosting events in Scotland brings kudos to the champion involved, and an ability to showcase their organisation. We have support and resources in place to help champions all the way; all we need them to do is put Scotland’s name forward.”
TSTC will work with Scotland’s business community, particularly with Scottish Enterprise and its partners such as Scottish Development International and Global Scots to reach out to those in business who have an affinity to Scotland and pride in their sectors and individual organisations.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland added:
“Business tourism plays a vital role in the Scottish economy, with the country punching above its weight in terms of the number of high-yield conferences and business events it attracts. Think Scotland, Think Conference will support the business tourism industry as it continues to grow while showing that, when it comes to hosting business events, Scotland really is the perfect stage.”