Business fund helps boost Scottish economy by £200m

A fund set up to attract association conferences to Scotland has helped boost the country’s economy by £200m.

The VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund was set up in 2012 and has helped secure business events throughout the country, with some conferences booked in advance up until 2022. Events which have already taken place with the help of the Bid Fund have attracted from 80 to 5,000 delegates.

The Bid Fund money awarded is based on match-funding subvention either by a destination organisation or local authority. The conferences must tie in with the Scottish Government target sectors, including business processing operations; creative industries; education; financial services; food and drink; and textiles and tourism.

The predicted £200m economic boost has been achieved with just £2m of investment from the fund. This money has helped secure 97 conferences, according to VisitScotland.

The list includes Viking Congress 2013, creative Orkney 2014, European Political Science Conference 2014, Cold Water Island Tourism Conference 2015, and British Art Medal Society 2015.

Fergus Ewing, Scottish Tourism minister, said: “I warmly welcome today’s news that, since its launch in 2012, VisitScotland’s Conference Bid Fund has shown excellent outcomes from our investment, helping attract conferences to Scotland.”

Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, Neil Brownlee added: “To boost the Scottish economy by £200m from less than £2m of investment is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the huge importance of the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund in attracting business events to this country.”

Emily King


Emily King

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