Conference business generates £1bn for Glasgow economy since 2005

Business tourism secured by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) since its inception in 2005 has been worth £1bn to the city’s economy, with more than 2,200 domestic and international conferences brought to the city in partnership with the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) over the past eight years.

More than 800,000 conference delegates have spent 3.3m nights in the city’s hotels during that time, and delegates now account for one in five hotel beds sold in Glasgow.

In addition to this, GCMB has reported its best ever conference sales for the past financial year, which helped the city break through the £1bn barrier. The bureau, SECC and city partners secured conventions business worth £153m in 2012/13, almost £3m of new business per week. This represents a 27.5 per cent year-on-year growth.

Between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013, GCMB’s Convention Bureau worked with the SECC and a range of city partners to confirm 450 new international and UK conventions through to 2021. Major conferences won by Glasgow in 2012/13, include: The International Society for Biomechanics Congress in 2015; The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ Vehicular Technology Conference 2015; and The International Federation for Orthopaedic and Manipulative Physiotherapy Conference 2016.

The Glasgow Conference Ambassador Programme helped secure a third of all conference business booked by GCMB in 2012/13. The programme accounted for more than £50m which the bureau says is its best return since it was introduced in 1990. Over the past eight years, Glasgow Ambassadors have delivered business worth almost £280m to the city’s economy.

“To have secured £1bn of conference business and more than three million hotel room bookings, during a period when global competition in the market has been incredibly fierce, is nothing short  of remarkable,” said Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of GCMB.

“This achievement is testimony to the fantastic partnership that exists between the different players across our convention venues, especially the SECC and our five universities, to our hotels, restaurants, transport providers, local ambassadors and all the other conference service providers.”

Glasgow has also reaped success over the past 12 months through support from VisitScotland’s £2m conference bid fund. Launched in March last year, the fund is aimed at helping cities put together the best possible bids and attract high-yield conventions linked to Scotland’s area of expertise in industry, commerce, science and medicine. GCMB and city partners have confirmed 18 conferences through the bid fund, including the International Conference on Nuclear Cardiology in 2015 and World Biomaterials Conference in 2020.

Later this year, Glasgow will host the Liberal Democrats’ annual Autumn Party Conference in 2013. The five-day event, which takes place at the SECC in September, will see 7,000 delegates travel to the city to attend the conference. It is expected to inject almost £12m into the local economy.

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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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