Edinburgh’s Lesley Williams named as conventions chair

Lesley Williams. Picture: supplied
Lesley Williams. Picture: supplied
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AN Edinburgh business tourism leader has been named as the new chairwoman of the UK and Ireland chapter of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

Lesley Williams, head of business tourism at Convention Edinburgh, will take up the post at the Imex exhibition in Frankfurt in April.

Ms Williams succeeds Kerrin MacPhie, director of conference and exhibition sales at ACC Liverpool, who has held the position since October 2013.

Previously deputy chairwoman at Convention Edinburgh, she has worked in international sales and marketing for more than 25 years.

As head of the business tourism arm at Edinburgh’s official promotional agency, Marketing Edinburgh, Lesley leads eight specialists in the Convention Edinburgh team.

Her main role is sourcing and securing international and national conferences for the Capital, the result of which has seen Edinburgh rise to 31st in the latest in the ICCA world rankings and the city hosted 65,000 delegates at 208 conventions in 2014-15.

Very active in Scottish business tourism industry, Ms Williams sits on a number of committees focused on raising the profile of Scotland as a world leading conference destination and is also deputy chairwoman of Business Tourism for Scotland – a group dedicated to the delivery of the National Tourism Strategy, aiming to grow business tourism in Scotland from £1.9 billion to £2.3bn by 2020.

Ms Williams said of her new role: “I am privileged to continue the good work that Kerrin has done throughout her chairmanship.

“ICCA plays a crucial role in shaping industry conversations, offering thought leadership on the issues facing our sector today.

“Increasing our digital engagement with industry colleagues and our executive committee presents an exciting opportunity for us to further cement our position as a global knowledge hub and resource.

“My priority is to work with the rest of the committee to ensure ICCA UK&I grows from strength to strength and continues to deliver for its members through an inspiring education programme and through business development opportunities.”

During her time at the helm, the outgoing Ms MacPhie has launched an annual debate, which has seen two successful events take place in Brighton and Leeds.

She said: “As chairperson of ICCA UK&I the key focus has been to deliver strong educational events that give added value to members in addition to driving social media activity to engage with members and industry colleagues across the ICCA network.

“Our membership base had stayed strong over the years and I know this will continue as I leave the chapter in very safe hands with a strong chairperson supported by an equally strong executive committee.”