Conference team photo 2023

VisitScotland Business Events team at Journey: The Business Events Conversation © Maverick Photography

Article published 13/12/2023

It's been a fantastic year for the Business Events team here at VisitScotland. We've had the opportunity to attend and exhibit at several international business events and share our knowledge with the global events sector, we've confirmed some high-profile events for 2024, and celebrated along with our partners and colleagues as they have been recognised in industry awards.

As ever, our aim is to promote Scotland as an open and welcoming destination for business events, as well as using our sector to further economic and social progress in the country. By understanding the drivers, motivations, and key areas of expertise for inbound events, VisitScotland Business Events can 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 our Transformation Protocol page for further information.

2023 highlights

This year, the VisitScotland Business Events team attended trade shows across the world with a whole host of appointments, including CHS Leeds, IMEX Frankfurt, and The Meetings Show. The shows provided excellent opportunities to promote Scotland as a destination for business events and build a pipeline for future business.

Head of Business Events, Neil Brownlee and Senior Business Events Manager, Rory Archibald, kickstarted the year with a visit to Ohio for PCMA Convening Leaders, the association's flagship education and networking event. The event's theme was environmental and social sustainability and was a chance for the team to share its expertise in this area and explore how it can be rolled out by other destinations and organisations to ensure that everything possible is done to help build our sector for the future.

In April, the team celebrated as Enya Rice was named one of Destinations International's 2023 30 Under 30 recipients. Enya is a talented marketer with a determination to make people a priority and advocate for the power of connectivity to help transform industries. We are incredibly proud of Enya and her dedication to the industry and look forward to continuing to support her on her career journey.

Last month, Scotland House in Brussels was the venue for the Brussels International Association Reception. This unforgettable evening with industry friends and colleagues featured an inspirational talk from Dr Poonam Malik, an entrepreneurial academic business strategy leader and investor in innovation, as well as an opportunity for networking and a selection of the finest foods from Scotland's world-famous larder.

Finally, the team travelled to Bangkok, Thailand for the ICCA World Congress in late November. A much-anticipated date in the events industry calendar, the team connected with the global associations meetings industry and took part in conversations about the future direction of the industry.

Our hosted events

In September VisitScotland Business Events joined Meetings Perthshire to host an educational trip to the region with six agents and event organisers. In partnership with Loganair to showcase their Heathrow to Dundee route, the trip gave attendees the opportunity to discover the region and its offering for business events and incentive trips. The trip, which included three full days of specially curated unique local experiences, was incredibly well received by guests.

To further promote Journey to Change, members of our corporate and incentive team and five Scottish partners (HORIZONS by Tour Partner Group, The Gleneagles Hotel, IHG Hotels & Resorts, INSPIRED SCOTLAND DMC and the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa) hosted Paris Connect in September, a networking event to showcase Scotland's sustainable options to selected French agencies.

On the 6 December, VisitScotland Business Events hosted 'Journey: The Business Events Conversation'. Held in the John McIntyre Conference Centre at the University of Edinburgh, this thought-provoking event was a chance to bring senior industry figures together from across the UK to debate and explore the role of business events in society.

PCMA news

In October, PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) announced the appointment of our very own Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland as its first non-North American Chair Elect for 2024. Neil and his fellow Directors and Trustees will assume office immediately following PCMA's Convening Leaders, taking place from 7-10 January 2024 in San Diego, California.

Neil will work alongside incoming Chair Leonard Hoops as well as with PCMA's Board of Directors and Trustees, to continue promoting economic and social transformation through business events worldwide, as well as promoting Scotland to a wider US and global business events audience.

PCMA provides senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry.

Looking ahead to 2023

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events, VisitScotland said: "Our team has worked tirelessly over the last 12 months to position Scotland as a leading destination for business events and paved the way for a fruitful year to come.

"We will continue to promote the message through our Journey to Change and Transformational Protocol programmes that business events can and should be vehicles for economic and social progress.

"From the entire Business Events team here at VisitScotland we hope you have a fantastic festive season with family and friends and wish you all health and happiness for the year ahead."