TOURISM chiefs are toasting an £8 million windfall for city coffers after deals were agreed to bring three major conferences to the Capital.
Around 4000 delegates from across the world are expected to attend the World Congress of Bioethics in June 2016 and International Neuromodulation Society World Congress in June 2017, while 1500 academics will flood the city in April 2015 for the Festival of Neuroscience – one of the largest events of its kind in Europe.
The triple coup was spearheaded by Marketing Edinburgh and comes amid intense competition from rival European cities. All three landmark events will be hosted at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) which saw its £30m extension formally launched in May.
Elaine Snell, chief executive for The British Neuroscience Association (BNA), praised the state-of-the-art facilities available within the EICC while adding that Edinburgh was a “popular and natural draw” for attending delegates.
She said: “That we are able to also coincide the BNA’s Festival of Neuroscience with the Edinburgh International Science Festival is a marvellous opportunity for us to further engage with the public, and talk about the amazing research that is helping our understanding of the brain.
“A successful conference requires a seamless response on all levels and we are confident that the coordinated support offered by EICC and Marketing Edinburgh’s Convention Bureau will result in our 2015 event being a highlight of the year for the organisation.”
Major players from the Capital’s tourism industry came together at the Morrison Street venue today for the annual Edinburgh Tourism Action Group Conference where keynote speaker John Donnelly, Marketing Edinburgh’s chief executive, was outlining trends and future opportunities.
Mr Donnelly said he was “delighted” to announce the triple conference boon.
He said: “As a conference destination city, Edinburgh punches well above its weight, rated 33rd in the world and second only to London in the UK by the ICCA.
“That said, we can’t rest on our laurels. International competition is fierce and ongoing challenges such as cost, VAT on tourism related products and air passenger duty (APD), all have a limiting impact on future growth. Collaboration is crucial. As the latest bid wins prove, a cohesive, city-specific approach between Marketing Edinburgh’s business tourism team and our bid-partners, can help us maximise the appeal of this amazing city.”
Head of sales and marketing at EICC, Louise Andrew, said: “Our ability to attract major events in life sciences is testimony to Scotland’s leading academic and industrial strength in this key growth sector and to our developed expertise in meeting the requirements of world congress organisers.”