Edinburgh to get £74m conference cash boost

Value: Frank Ross
Value: Frank Ross
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THOUSANDS of delegates are set to bring a huge cash injection to the Capital in the next two years, after the city secured more than £74 million worth of conferences.

Marketing Edinburgh revealed that 132 conferences had been booked for the Capital since April last year in an achievement that will bring more than 48,000 delegates to the city from 2013 to 2015.

The European Congress of Biotechnology to be held in Edinburgh next year is among the conferences. The large-scale event is tipped to bring more than 1000 delegates and £2m in economic benefits.

Venues including the revamped Edinburgh International Conference Centre and many of the city’s leading hotels are expected to benefit.

Marketing Edinburgh operations director Sue Stuart said: “I believe these excellent results underline the importance of business tourism to the economy. The delegates attending these business events spend 80 per cent more per night than leisure visitors.”

Edinburgh is Britain’s second biggest conference hub behind London.

The World Congress of Cardiothoracic Surgeons is among the flood of bookings. The IWRA World Water Congress scheduled for May 2015 will also bring 1000 delegates to the city over five days.

The concerted push to secure record business tourism levels comes with the major expansion to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre due to open in two months’ time.

The EICC will boast the city’s first dedicated 2000-seat conference room along with a new glass atrium reception centre.

An International Investigative Dermatology conference on genetic skin diseases will be the first event at the revamped facilities on May 8.

City economy convener Councillor Frank Ross said: “Edinburgh continues to punch above its weight internationally as a major conference destination and these latest figures demonstrate the value of the work being undertaken by the council, Marketing Edinburgh and others to ensure that business tourism is given due prominence.”

Neil Brownlee, head of business tourism at VisitScotland, said: “With the numerous recent hotel and venue developments, and improvements in transport links, Edinburgh is well placed to entice more prestigious meetings and conferences over the coming years.”

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce chief executive David Birrell said: “There is an opportunity for other businesses in Edinburgh to benefit as a result of the influx of business tourists this news heralds.”