Team photo xmas tree Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

The Business Events team at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

Article Published 14/12/2022

It has been an incredibly busy yet rewarding year for the Business Events team here at VisitScotland. We have had the opportunity to reconnect with our industry friends and colleagues, attend and exhibit at several trade shows, showcase our expertise and share our knowledge with the global events sector, and promote our country as an open and welcoming destination.

On 26 May 2022, we hosted our own event Journey: The Business Events Conversation, which took place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh. The event united leaders from across the global business events industry with representatives from Scotland's key sectors, venues, and partners to discuss how the sector can be a platform for socio-economic change and examples of this in practice.

At the event, we also launched our Transformational Protocol, a new national initiative which aims to maximise the impact business events can have when they come to Scotland. The protocol is a collaborative national initiative that will include VisitScotland, city convention bureaux, key conference centres and venues, PCOs, and inbound event organisers.

By understanding the drivers, motivations, and key areas of expertise for inbound events, VisitScotland Business Events will be able to connect event organisers and key delegates with national partners, including innovation and research centres, policy leads, industry bodies, social enterprises, and business leaders. Interested and want to learn more? Visit Transformation Protocol for business event organisers or Scottish business events industry for further information.

Where have we been?

This year we kickstarted the events and trade shows season by exhibiting at CHS Leeds. A major focus for the team was to continue to advocate for the importance of business events in delivering socio-economic transformation by driving forward our Journey to Change messaging and introducing the Transformation Protocol.

VisitScotland Business Events, with key Scottish partners, also exhibited at:

  • IMEX Frankfurt
  • M&I Europe
  • The Meetings Show
  • IMEX America
  • CHS Birmingham

The team was instrumental in the organisation of the inaugural C&IT Festival of Forums, which took place in Glasgow. The event was attended by 60 buyers, the majority of whom were based in the UK. The three-day event included education sessions, meetings, and a private whisky tasting at The Clydeside Distillery. Our Head of Business Events, Neil Brownlee, joined a panel session with The Power of Events, Diversity Alliance, and UKEVENTS (formally the Business Visits and Events Partnership). We were also involved in the organisation of post-event FAM trips with some of our key partners and venues.

The team was heavily involved behind the scenes with the Incentive Research Foundation Board of Trustees meeting, ahead of IMEX America. The team also arranged several networking events in 2022 including two networking evening events in Germany and most recently helped to host a St Andrew's Day celebration at the British Embassy in Paris, enabling the team to meet with key French partners and colleagues.

Throughout the year, we also attended some key industry conferences and meetings, with the opportunity to join and moderate educational sessions including at PCMA EduCon, Destinations International Annual Convention, and The Business of Events: UK Policy Forum. We also attended Association World Congress, the ICCA Global Association Forum and finished our year at the ICCA World Congress in Krakow, Poland, where we joined education sessions and shared our voice at roundtables. It was an excellent opportunity to hear from our colleagues as we head into a new year. We also had the pleasure of watching our industry colleagues from ICC Wales secure the ICCA Best Marketing Award for their work in educating the industry on the incoming Protect Duty legislation (Martyn's Law). The legislation is a result of tireless campaigning by Figen Murray OBE, the mother of Martyn Hett whose life was lost in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017 and is designed to improve safety and security at all large-scale UK venues to mitigate the risk of a terrorist attack.

Looking ahead to 2023

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events, VisitScotland said: "I'm incredibly proud of what has been achieved by our team and partners this year, which has provided an excellent platform for Team Scotland moving forward.

"As we head into 2023, I am looking forward to continuing our work and extending the reach of our Journey to Change messaging and Transformational Protocol. I am also personally looking forward to sitting on the PCMA Board of Directors for another year and I am delighted to be joined by Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SEC, who will serve on the board as a Director and Trustee for 2023 and 2024."

From the entire Business Events team here at VisitScotland we hope you have a fantastic Christmas with your friends and families and wish you all health and happiness for the year ahead.

Team photo Edinburgh Catsle background Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

The Business Events team at Virgin Hotels Edinburgh with view of the Edinburgh Castle