Business Tourism in Edinburgh and why continuous investment at all levels is essential.
The benefits of business tourism to Scotland are clear: With business travellers spending on average three times more than leisure visitors, business tourism is by far the most lucrative, high spend, high yield form of tourism, resulting in a plethora of opportunities for Scotland’s economy.
The £6m “Scotland is Now” campaign brings together the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Development International and Universities Scotland and aims to put Scotland in the international spotlight and showcase the country’s assets to a global audience.
The appeal of the Edinburgh brand is undisputed. Architecturally stunning, steeped in history and with a thriving cultural offering, Scotland’s capital city continues to be regarded as one of the world’s best business tourism destinations.
However, competitor destinations are also achieving great success at reaping the full benefits of business visitors. For example, conference visitors to France spend on average 4.5 days in the country, exactly one day more than delegates to conferences in the UK. Additionally, 20% of foreign conference visitors to Germany combine their work trip with a holiday, meaning that half a million international conference visitors to Germany also become holidaymakers.
There is no doubt that Scotland is not complacent as the ‘Scotland is Now’ campaign demonstrates, however, conference and event venues must continue to invest to ensure the facilities on offer are of the standard business tourists demand.
It is with this in mind that the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has to date, invested over £12 million in the last three years in the Royal Highland Centre (RHC), with a further £7 million committed over the next three years. A significant part of future investment is a new multi-use event space on its 280-acre site, adjacent to Edinburgh Airport.
What opportunities does this investment bring to Edinburgh?
RHASS is already an economic powerhouse for Scotland, generating a multimillion pound economic contribution to the Scottish economy. The proposed £5 million multi-use event space will be a major draw for event organisers locally, across the UK and globally, delivering even greater benefits to Edinburgh in the future.
In a city that is competing on a global stage for a share in the business tourism market, the new venue will be a welcome alternative to existing venues and, perhaps just as importantly, will offer local businesses the opportunity to benefit from world-class facilities right here on our doorstep.
An established events venue for nearly 60 years, the RHC attracts around 1 million visitors annually and hosts over 200 events. Its offer is unique in that it provides event organisers with a versatile indoor and outdoor space that can accommodate multiple events simultaneously, from music festivals, and experiential events to large-scale exhibitions and of course Scotland’s largest outdoor event – the Royal Highland Show.
With planning permission granted, work on the new multi-use event space will commence in early 2019, with a planned completion date in Spring 2020. Funding for the new building is underway, and there will be significant opportunities for Scottish business and philanthropists to play a role.
This ambitious project will allow, the RHC to continue to attract large-scale events which generate income for its parent company, the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. This income growth is key to RHASS fulfilling its charitable remit, to promote the best in food, farming and rural life, highlighting the important benefits to organisations who incorporate social good in their business model and is a key selling point for businesses who wish to give back.
To find out more about the charitable work of RHASS or to discuss an event at the Royal Highland Centre visit: www.rhass.org.uk.