On December 6, 2023, VisitScotland Business Events presents its annual industry conference, 'Journey: The Business Events Conversation.' This event promises to be an enriching day of dialogue and discovery.

Join us at the John McIntyre Conference Centre in the University of Edinburgh for an unforgettable gathering. At this one-day event, we will bring together leaders from the global business events industry, alongside partners and representatives from Scotland's key sectors and venues. Together, we will explore how business events can serve as a catalyst for socio-economic change, showcasing real-world examples of transformation in action.

As the festive season approaches, this occasion offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with industry peers, share insights, and reflect on the pivotal events and themes of 2023. It's also a chance to chart a course for the new year.

Date & time:

6 December 2023, 9:30am - 5:00pm


John McIntyre Conference Centre, The University of Edinburgh, Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Rd, Edinburgh EH16 5AY. Get directions.

Please read access guide here.

Speakers & Sessions:

The Journey of the Business Events Sector

Natasha Richards, Director of Impact & Industry Relations, IMEX Group 

Join Natasha Richards, Impact & Industry Relations Director at IMEX, a renowned organiser of two prominent international trade shows within the industry. Together with Neil Brownlee, they will delve into an insightful conversation about the dynamic future of the business events sector. Explore the anticipated evolution of destinations and the pivotal role we should all play in maximising interactions and enhancing outcomes from events. Find out more about Natasha Richards and her role within IMEX here.

Transition to a Sustainable Future

Anna Abdelnoor, CEO & Founder, isla

Anna is the CEO and founder of isla - the independent industry body supporting the events sector transition to a more sustainable future. As the driving force behind isla, Anna articulates and leads the sustainability vision for the industry, focusing on direct action, measurable targets, education and standardisation of the sector, to accelerate and capitalise on global momentum and transform to a sustainable global society. Find out more about isla here.

The Transformation Talks (Volume 2)

Jamie Leitch, Business Development Manager, The Green Team

The Green Team is a charity that runs outdoor projects that increase understanding, appreciation and care of nature while helping young people to overcome challenges.

Gordon McIntyre, Founder, Hospitality Health

Hospitality Health is a charity that supports the wellbeing of staff in the industry, Gordon McIntyre is also Vice Chair of Experience Glasgow Food & Drink, which supports the food and tourism sector in the city.

Sian Downes, CEO & Founder, Strawberry Lemonade Events

Strawberry Lemonade Events is Scotland’s leading ‘Events for Change’ social enterprise. Sian set up Strawberry Lemonade Events to deliver creative corporate events, while designing an employability programme to support vulnerable people.

Moderating: Fiona MacKinnon, Associations & Sectors, VisitScotland Business Events   

Delve into the Markets 

Breakout Sessions

  1. The Corporate & Incentive Perspective and Discussion
  2. The Associations Perspective and Discussion
The Positive Impact Panel

Aileen Crawford, Head of Tourism and Conventions, Glasgow Life

Aileen heads the Glasgow Convention Bureau, voted the Best UK Convention Bureau for the last 17 years (M&IT Awards). Glasgow's experienced conventions team, advocates for the destination's role in promoting and encouraging responsible tourism. Glasgow Convention Bureau achieved the milestone of becoming the first convention bureau in the world to join the Tourism Declares initiative in 2021. Glasgow currently ranks top in the UK and 8th in the world on the Global Destination Sustainability Index of over 100 tourism and events cities.

Ami Dorkings, Senior Project Manager, Penguins Events & DRPG

Ami Dorkings is a Senior Project Manager at Penguins/DRPG, specialising in incentive travel and reward and recognition. With experience within the managing the venue finding team, working with DMC's and supplier partners, Ami has a wealth of knowledge on best practices, sustainability and her passion of bringing experiences to life for clients.

Moderating: Anna Abdelnoor, CEO & Founder, isla

The Intersection of Business Events and Tourism in Scotland

Vicki Miller, Director of Marketing & Digital, VisitScotland

During this session, Vicki Miller and Neil Brownlee will discuss their vision of the pivotal role that business events play in Scotland's visitor economy, and wider global brand. We will delve into the impact of tourism on communities across Scotland, exploring how business events serve as a critical tool to project Scotland onto the global stage. We will explore how these events contribute to positioning Scotland as the ultimate destination for living, working, studying, investing, and visiting.

Moderating: Amanda Ferguson, Head of Business Development, University of Edinburgh Hospitality & Events Collection

To celebrate the festive season, SITE Scotland are generously offering a wonderful opportunity to reconnect further with industry peers by sponsoring our evening reception at the end of the day.


£80 + VAT per ticket.


Register here to attend Journey: The Business Events Conversation.

For more information, please contact business.events@visitscotland.com.