New figures released show that Glasgow attracted more conference business in the past financial year than ever before.
Glasgow is recognised as one of the world’s leading conference destinations and year-end data from Glasgow Convention Bureau reinforces the importance of business tourism to the city’s economy.
Over 530 conferences were held in Glasgow in 2018/19, bringing nearly 160,000 delegates to Scotland’s largest city. Collectively, UK and international meetings were worth just over £150m in delegate spend, reflecting Glasgow’s most successful conference year-to-date.
Just last month, a report issued by meetings industry body the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) showed that Glasgow attracted more international delegates in the 2018 calendar year than any other UK city, outside London.
Over 30,000 overseas delegates visited Glasgow last year, placing the city 34th overall in ICCA’s index of 400 cities.
Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions, Glasgow Convention Bureau, says: “Glasgow understands the importance and value of its knowledge base economy, and these results are a clear endorsement of the confidence that the global meetings industry has in our city, particularly in key sectors like life sciences, engineering and sustainability, which account for more than 50% of our conference business. Many of these conferences are secured with the support of our world-class academic ambassadors who invite their international peers to meet here.”
Major conventions that took place in Glasgow in 2018/19 included the World Federation of Hemophilia; the World Down’s Syndrome Congress; the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Annual Conference and the National Cancer Research Institute Conference (NCRI).
Collectively, these four major medical meetings brought more than 9200 delegates to Glasgow; boosting the local economy by more than £17m.
Professor Owen Sansom, Director at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research and Co-Chair of the 2018 NCRI Conference, said: “Scotland’s reputation as a centre for ground-breaking medical research and development is globally renowned and it’s 10 years since the Beatson Institute – the UK’s most advanced NHS cancer centre – opened its doors in Glasgow, so it was fitting that we brought the NCRI Conference here for the first time last year.
“Glasgow is increasingly being recognised as a first choice host for the world’s most important medical meetings and that reflects the strength of the city’s academic community and the tremendous energy and support from the teams at the SEC and Glasgow Convention Bureau.
“We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our delegates back to Glasgow this year and what’s really exciting is that it will bring together people from all areas of cancer research; from scientists to clinicians as well as cancer survivors, enabling us to make important connections across specialisms both in the UK and internationally.”
Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the Scottish Event Campus, said: “It has been an exceptional year for conferences in Glasgow and it’s the result of outstanding teamwork with partners across the city.
“The SEC has enjoyed a record year with 55% growth in conference turnover and we remain a key driver for attracting international meetings; welcoming 80% of all oversees delegates to our campus. Conferences are a catalyst for social and economic progress and play an important role in continuing to internationalise the city’s reputation.”
Janice Fisher, Joint Chair of the Greater Glasgow Hoteliers’ Association (GGHA), added: “Such positive year-end results reflect Glasgow’s position as one of the world’s premier conference destinations and nowhere is the value of business and leisure tourism more apparent than in our hotel sector.
“Six new developments have added more than 1,000 new hotel rooms to the city’s accommodation stock in the past 18 months and another 1,900 rooms are in the pipeline by 2021, yet demand from delegates and tourists continues to outstrip supply.
“The GGHA is delighted to work in partnership with Glasgow Convention Bureau and city partners and we look forward to continuing to provide a warm welcome to the global meetings industry.”
Looking ahead, Glasgow has confirmed conference business on its books until 2024 and bids in planning through to 2026.