EICC lures £5m TED Summit conference to Edinburgh

Author and cognitive science professor Steven Pinker (L) speaks with TED Conference curator Chris Anderson during a TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Picture: Getty Images/AFP
Author and cognitive science professor Steven Pinker (L) speaks with TED Conference curator Chris Anderson during a TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Picture: Getty Images/AFP
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THINKERS and writers from all over the world are set to descend on the Capital next year after the Edinburgh International Conference Centre won a bid to host the prestigious TED Summit.

More than 1000 people are expected to attend the five-day summer gathering which is forecast to generate £5 million for the local economy.

The event will see leading figures from a wide variety of fields meeting under the umbrella of the organisation behind the influential TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks watched by millions online.

The city council’s economy vice-convener Lezley Cameron announced the EICC’s success in winning the conference.

She said: “This has taken eight months of really hard work, a very Team Edinburgh approach. It will bring £5m of economic benefit to this city.

“Over 30 different buildings in the city will play host in some form or other to the event. The EICC is an environment to inspire ideas that change the world.”

She said Edinburgh had faced stiff competition from cities like Melbourne and Singapore to host the conference, which will run July 21-25.

TED has also posted on its website that TEDSummit 2019 will be in Edinburgh, July 21-25. It says: “Many people see TED through a lens of talks and content. We see it as a global community of people who are interested in ideas that can improve the world.

“Every few years, TEDSummit gathers over 1000 
members of that global community for five days of brainstorms, performances, workshops, outdoor activities, future-focused discussions and an eclectic program of mainstage TED Talks.

“Three years after the first event in Banff, Canada, TEDSummit 2019 will gather that community beyond borders in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland.”

It is understood final details of the arrangements are still being discussed before the contract is formally signed, with an official announcement expected next month.

One source said: “This is massive. TED is massive in global terms – it’s a phenomenon in itself and it’s only getting bigger and more important.

“This is their big summit, with the top team from TED and the great and the good of the business world, social enterprise, science, health, technology, the creative industries and NGOs – the big change-makers from all these sectors from across the globe.”

Councillor Cameron said since Marshall Dallas had taken over as chief executive at the council-owned EICC in 2014 he and his team had turned a £1m operating loss to a best-ever operating profit of £1.2m.

She said the TED Summit would be “a fantastic event for this city and this country”.

She said: “It’s ever more competitive in the global market to secure large 
international events and particularly with Brexit and other challenges facing 
us.

“It requires a lot of investment to maintain a competitive advantage – I hope the council will continue to do that so we can bring economic benefits and share them across the city.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com