The OVO Hydro

The OVO Hydro © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Article published 28/05/2024

Scotland has today (28 May) launched its refreshed national events strategy designed to provide strategic focus for all involved in the planning, securing and delivery of events across Scotland.

Scotland the Perfect Stage 2024-2035* aims to build on the event industry's many achievements to date, as well as respond to the ongoing challenges faced by the sector.   It also focuses on a range of national priority outcomes and critical success factors for the sector as it looks towards the next ten years. 

An extensive consultation was undertaken across 2023 to shape the strategy. This involved an online consultation, a programme of industry engagement workshops delivered in partnership with Local Authorities across the country and a series of online webinars with additional stakeholder groups.  More than 300 organisations and individuals engaged and their responses informed the strategy's key themes and priorities.  

Building on this approach, and in order to ensure a strong, shared ambition, the development and approval was a collaborative effort involving Scottish Government, VisitScotland's Events Directorate, Scotland's Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG), Local Authorities, COSLA and Trade Union representatives.

At the strategy's core is the need to sustain and develop a dynamic, resilient, and responsible events sector that is recognised as a global leader and valued for its contribution to Scotland's wellbeing economy.   

Delivery of the strategy's vision is centred on three critical interconnecting focus areas: Developing Events, Developing the Industry and Developing Scotland.  

A range of aligned priority themes are also identified and form a key strategic focus.  These include:

  • Inclusive & Responsible Events
  • Investment and Support 
  • Measuring, Monitoring and Reporting Impact
  • Portfolio Approach enabling a variety of events and a balanced programme
  • Attracting, Retaining and Developing a diverse talent pool
  • Quality Planning and Delivery
  • Infrastructure and Services
  • Reputation and Profile 
  • Visitor Economy 

A detailed action plan will be created, building on the set of suggested 'next steps' for each priority theme. The Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG), together with partners, will help develop and oversee this action plan. 

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said: "The launch of our refreshed national events strategy, Scotland the Perfect Stage 2024-2035 marks a significant milestone for Scotland's events sector.
"This strategy is a testament to our collaborative efforts and shared ambition, designed to build on our achievements and address the challenges ahead. 

"With a focus on inclusive and responsible events, investment and support, and a dynamic portfolio approach, we're committed to developing a sustainable events industry that contributes to Scotland's economy. The new strategy will ensure Scotland remains a global leader in the events industry."

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, VisitScotland said: "Since the development of the first national strategic approach to events in 2008, which was updated in 2015, Scotland has achieved an enviable global reputation as a major events powerhouse, hosting a scale and breadth of major international sporting championships, cultural festivals and much-loved regional events."
"Events are ideally placed to continue to deliver tangible results against a range of national priorities. They serve as catalysts for innovation, bring people together, and span a range of socio-economic impacts that propel society forward.   
"The impact of this consistent and sustained focus on developing Scotland's events industry over the last twenty years has been transformative. The refreshed strategy not only emphasises the hugely valuable importance of the sector, but it sets out a shared ambition for the next decade which is critical for ensuring Scotland maintains its world-leading events destination status." 
Peter Duthie, Chair of Scotland's Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG) said: "Scotland's events industry is an established global leader, delivering world-class events and experiences that contribute vital social, economic and cultural value for Scotland. 

"The refreshed strategy provides the focus necessary to retain our global status as we look to the future. It will require us all to work collaboratively, innovatively and responsibly with confidence, determination and purpose, whilst also recognising the part we each play in the continued success of our sector.  It also emphasises the need for continued support and investment to drive continued growth.

"On behalf of the Advisory Group, I welcome this strategy as we continue to move forward producing an enviable portfolio of business, sporting, and cultural events."