SMG Europe named preferred bidder to operate AECC

Venue management company SMG Europe has been chosen by Aberdeen City Council to operate the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC). SMG operates 240 conference, exhibition and sports and entertainment venues across the US, Canada, Europe and Asia and said it expected to open the venue in 2019.

Prior to the opening of the new £333m development, SMG Europe will work alongside the current AECC team in managing and operating the existing venue, starting 1 April 2017.

John Sharkey, SMG executive vice-president of European operations told CN SMG was “extremely excited about what the new design will bring to the conference and exhibition marketplace as we try to embrace the needs of exhibitors and attendees as we got into the next few years.”

Sharkey added that the project would become a “jewel in the crown of the city and the wider north eastern economy”.

The new centre, Sharkey added, would generate 600 jobs during the construction period and 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions by year 10 of operations, and is a key element of Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan to grow and bolster the local economy.

Plans for the new AECC were approved last year and Council leader Jenny Laing said: “The venue will provide a modern and fit-for-purpose facility, attracting bigger names in entertainment and more major international events and conferences to the north east, as well as being next to Aberdeen International Airport.

“I am looking forward to hearing about the exciting plans which SMG has for operating the new venue in the future.”

Over the next 10 years the new centre is expected to contribute an additional 4.5m visitors, £113m of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy. It will provide four times the exhibition space available at the current AECC, and increase the maximum capacity to 12,500 in the arena.

The council has promised to guarantee jobs at the current and new AECC would remain as they are under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE).

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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