Pope’s visit challenges Scottish events logistics

Scottish exhibition and conference organisers
are bracing themselves for challenging conditions when the pope and his
popemobile descend on Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The leader of the religious world is due to
arrive in Edinburgh at 10.30am on 16 September
for a state reception at the palace of Holyroodhouse as the public participates
in the St Ninian’s Day parade. The pope will drive through the city and attend
lunch before travelling to Glasgow, arriving at 4.45pm to oversee mass. He
then heads to London on an evening flight for a
two-day visit, followed by Birmingham on 19 September.

Scottish pundits anticipate 165,000 visitors
will flock to Edinburgh and Glasgow cities to see the pontiff and participate in
public celebrations.

One exhibition organiser working to minimise
collateral damage from the visit is Western Business Exhibitions, which runs the
Health and Safety Expo at The Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh. Event director,
Tim Else, said practical measures
taken included opening the show an hour earlier (8am) on 16 September to
encourage visitors to get in before road closures start, as well as providing
exhibitors and visitors with maps detailing roads closed and detours.

“I think we’re going to quickly learn what
the relationship is between Scottish Catholics and Scottish safety managers,”
Else told Exhibition News. “Our practical approach has included making sure that
our show security is right, and that parking is exclusively reserved for
exhibitors and visitors, which is what The Royal Highland Centre has assured
us.

“It remains to be seen what affect this will
have – to underestimate the effect a papal visit is
foolish.”

Event organiser for the 12th combined
meeting of the Orthopaedic
Association 2010 in Glasgow, Vicki Grant, said the main impact of the visit
would be on the exhibition breakdown, which was scheduled for the afternoon.

“We’ve had to make a contingency for extended
breakdown into Friday in case vehicles are delayed getting into Glasgow,” she said.   

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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