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June 10, 2008

Meetings and event contribution to Edinburgh economy grows

Business tourism worth £72.8 million was attracted to Scotland's capital Edinburgh last year, up 6.2% on 2006.

The city, which is Scotland’s top conference and convention destination, hosted 162 events, which were attended by more than 65,000 high spending delegates.

Sue Stuart, chief executive of Edinburgh Convention Bureau (ECB), commented: “These results reflect a superb effort by everyone involved in marketing Edinburgh as a world class conference destination. We set ourselves a target of achieving an economic value of £71.7 million which we exceeded by more than one million pounds.

“We operate in a highly competitive marketplace, with more and more cities around the world realising and wanting a share of a highly lucrative and fast growing business. Edinburgh is currently undergoing a period of transition, upgrading its infrastructure and facilities, while assessing how best to promote itself globally in order to maintain its position as a global destination. Much remains to be done, but the benefits will be enormous for the city and Scotland.”

The encouraging results come after disappointment in the latest International Congress & Convention Association’s (ICCA) world ranking of host cities for 2007, which indicated that Edinburgh hosted 41 qualifying events compared with 46 the previous year, and now stands 36th in the ICCA rankings down nine places on 2006.

Despite this, Edinburgh still remains the highest ranked city in the UK after London, which is now placed 17th in the league table, down six places.

The report also shows that other major UK cities have also lost ground, including Glasgow, Liverpool and Cambridge.

One of the key elements of Edinburgh’s success in hosting national and international conferences is its reputation as a centre of excellence in fields such as genetics, bioscience, medicine, electronic engineering and computing.

The city has emerged as one of the pharmaceutical industry’s top destinations for meetings. Strict new compliance rules adopted by International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association (IPCAA), with 35 member companies around the world representing 70% of the world’s health market and half of the world’s meetings, are good news for Edinburgh. IPCAA regulations for members in choosing a conference location state it should have a high reputation for research and development in science and medicine, areas in which Edinburgh scores highly. 
This is underscored in the latest group of 13 conferences, which the ECB has helped win for Edinburgh. Worth almost £1.2 million in total, and attracting up to 1,640 delegates, two of the largest events are health related: the Edinburgh International Trauma Symposium and the Society for Reproduction & Fertility conference.

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