Scotland’s New Strategy to Woo Association Conferences

Author: Lane Nieset       

 

Buyers and organisers at Scone Palace. (Photo courtesy of VisitScotland)

Business events already account for about 20 percent of tourism expenditures in Scotland, a sector that generates nearly £11 billion in economic activity annually. Now, according to a report in HQ magazine, Scotland is looking to “forge a new narrative away from a ‘tourism’ model” by spotlighting a major draw for associations: the country’s knowledge economy.

At the recent inaugural VisitScotland Association Reception at Scotland House in Brussels, 50 senior representatives from 33 global associations gathered to hear about the country’s new strategy and what VisitScotland describes as the nation’s “incredible history” in innovation and invention in such areas as medicine, engineering, and biotechnology.

According to keynote speaker Professor Dame Anne Glover, president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the event was a way to highlight the country’s intellectual capital.

“Scotland is an outward-looking, collaborative country with a world-renowned research community,” she told HQ. “The country is rightly known for its many achievements, which have had a huge impact on the world, but it is also important to recognise that this legacy is still very much alive today. In our innovation centres and universities, Scotland continues to operate at the forefront of numerous key sectors. But this is not work done in isolation — any endeavour requires collaboration, fresh ideas, new perspectives, and a pooling of talent.”

With the new strategy, Scotland aims to promote knowledge sharing and create partnerships that can lead to change, as association conferences bring delegates from around the globe who can work with Scotland’s researchers and facilities to build long-term legacies. As Patrick Lamont of VisitScotland Business Events told HQ: Each association that comes to Scotland has the power to leave its mark on the country — and equally to learn from Scotland. Associations should not represent a one-way revenue stream; each event in Scotland offers us the opportunity to share with the world what we are doing, how Scotland is addressing the latest issues in a range of industries, and, of course, for Scotland to listen and learn.”