COP26 Platform for global solutions NEW artwork

Article Published 13/02/2023

The Scottish venue that hosted COP26 has been recognised at Scotland's premier business and events awards.

The Best Business Event award at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final went to the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) for the United Nations Conference of Parties in November 2021.

The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered by VisitScotland, sponsored by Johnstons of Elgin and include a media partnership with News Scotland for the first time this year. They celebrate the very best of tourism in Scotland and the excellence that is helping to rebuild this vital part of the Scottish economy.

After a break of three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Final returned to Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Thursday 9 February.

The Best Business Event award celebrates business events as catalysts for economic and social transformation and recognises the value of business events as an industry, which is worth around £2billion to the Scottish economy.

COP26 was the largest in its 26-year history and the most complex business event ever to be held in the UK. Set against the backdrop of the global threat of climate change, the event brought together 120 world leaders and 58,000 participants.

Judges praised the SEC for their excellent cross agency collaboration in hosting an event of this scale that had "the power to truly change the world." They also highlighted the impacts and legacy of the event on the international business events community in driving up new standards in event sustainability.

Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales: "Winning this award for delivering COP26 during a year of reshaping and rethinking for our industry feels incredible. It recognises the extraordinary professionalism and talent we have across our team at the SEC which skillfully navigates the most complex events in demanding circumstances. We are very proud of Team SEC."

Neil Brownlee, VisitScotland Head of Business Events said: "Congratulations to the SEC on receiving this prestigious award for COP26.

"COP26 was a unique business event of great complexity and importance that showcased Scotland to the world.

"The SEC should be commended for their local and international partnership working to deliver a best-practice business event that continues to have an impact today.

"As the calibre of this winner demonstrates, Business Events in Scotland are catalysts for social and economic transformation. They touch every industry, business and community in the country, and are critical to ensuring the wider global economic recovery.

"Business events also act as platforms for collaboration, embracing innovative and sustainable practices to showcase Scotland as a good global citizen and support our ambition to be a world leader in 21st century tourism."

The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered in partnership with Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) and the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) and supported by a panel of industry representatives.

The awards champion innovation, collaboration and sustainable practices, in line with the ambitions of the national tourism strategy, Outlook 2030.  
Responsible tourism is at the heart of the refreshed Scottish Thistle Awards, supporting the aim for Scotland to be recognised globally as a leader in this field. As well as a new category celebrating those businesses and events which have embraced responsible tourism, every entry was required to provide clear evidence - covering the last two years - on how their business addresses four key areas of a low carbon economy, inclusivity, thriving communities and Scotland's natural and cultural heritage.

For more information on the Scottish Thistle Awards, visit

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