Edinburgh International Conference Centre gears up for major events in 2021 after record year

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has hailed the development of a “market-leading” online events platform to help it cope with the devastating industry impact from the Covid pandemic.

By Scott Reid
Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 12:30 pm
The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is planning for events and conferences returning during 2021. Picture: Stewart Attwood
The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is planning for events and conferences returning during 2021. Picture: Stewart Attwood

The capital conference venue, which has hosted Barack Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio in recent years, said it had seen its best ever year in 2019 and has generated an economic impact in excess of £720 million since opening its doors in September 1995.

The EICC’s Atrium and Lennox suites, which doubled capacity, were opened in 2013 – the same year in which the venue welcomed its millionth delegate.

Last year, the centre hosted TEDSummit, when some 1,000 delegates from around the world gathered in Edinburgh, and to date almost 3,500 events have been staged with total delegate numbers standing at 1,475,892.

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The latest annual results reveal that revenue in the year to 31 December 2019 totalled £12.6 million, up from £11.8m the year before, with profits of £1.5m, up from £1.4m.

The EICC has been running online events since lockdown, ahead of a planned return to physical business events and conferences in 2021 and is set to announce a series of major conference wins later this year.

Chief executive Marshall Dallas said: “2019 was our best ever year, and we came into 2020 with a record number of events on our books before the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to close the venue in March.

“We continue to take bookings for 2021 and have recently secured a number of major conferences for next year which we will be announcing in the near future.

“We, of course, remain circumspect about business activity in light of prevailing conditions, however we have focused our efforts on implementing extensive health and wellbeing measures in readiness for safely welcoming delegates back to our venue.”

He added: “What has been a hopeful prospect during the pandemic is that we have developed a market-leading online events platform that has enabled us to stage conferences which have a greater global reach for audiences around the world.

“When we combine this in a hybrid scenario once delegates return to the venue, we believe we’ll have one of the best offerings of any conference centre worldwide.

“We also know that the business events sector, which is valued at around £35 billion across the UK, will be an important driver in helping to reboot the Scottish economy.”

In March, the EICC led an announcement on the go-ahead for a pioneering hotel and hotel school development in Edinburgh. M&G Real Estate is funding the £350m Haymarket Edinburgh development which will be developed by QMile Group.

The completed hotel is set to be operated by the EICC under a franchise agreement with Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

In May, the EICC launched a new online events platform, Make it Edinburgh Live, which was created to enable the venue team to run conferences and events entirely online or via a combination of online and in situ. In turn, significant investment has been made this year in both technology and related training across the team at the venue.

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