VB Conference 2024

Article published 29/02/2024

VisitBritain recently hosted its inaugural Association Conference (5th - 7th February) in collaboration with MeetEngland, Meet in Wales, VisitScotland Business Events, and the Association of British Professional Congress Organisers (ABPCO). Held at the prestigious Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), the conference brought together 80 industry professionals from convention bureaux, international associations, and congress organisers.

The conference theme was impact beyond the plenary and the agenda, which was curated by #MEET4IMPACT and GDS Movement, explored strategies for enhancing the positive impact of congresses and achieving mutually beneficial objectives.

Nick de Bois, chairman of the British Tourist Authority, opened the conference where he emphasised the pivotal role of the association sector in attracting new events to Britain.

Promoting Scotland's advantages

As part of the conference programme Fiona MacKinnon, Assistant Manager - Associations & Sectors joined Heledd Williams, Head of Business Events at Event Wales for the Learning Journeys Across Britain and Northern Ireland session.

Fiona presented to clients and organisers on the benefits of hosting events in Scotland focusing on the country's sector strengths and the support VisitScotland can offer event organisers. Fiona also highlighted the power of Scotland's knowledge economy, which is supported by 15 universities and eight innovation centres, as well as discussing the importance of a well-connected ecosystem, enabling effective connections within the community and with conference cities.

In addition to Fiona's session our Senior Business Events Manager, Rory Archibald joined the Nations Planning for Positive Impact session where he highlighted Scotland's alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the country's collective efforts towards building a wellbeing economy. Rory also emphasised the importance of collaboration with associations to maximise the impact of events for Scotland and the associations' own communities. He also asked whether there were any associations and organisers that didn't agree with VisitScotland's strategy and invited them to provide their opinions and discuss any potential misalignment with their focus, ensuring that their combined efforts are well-aligned.

VisitBritain Impactful Framework

At the conference VisitBritain provided a soft launch of the VisitBritain Impactful Framework. Developed in collaboration with #MEET4IMPACT and GDS Movement, this 18-month initiative aims to facilitate the creation of impact strategies across the UK's business events sector.

Geneviève Leclerc, co-founder and CEO of #MEET4IMPACT, praised the VisitBritain Business Events Impactful Framework for establishing a standardised approach to showcase the impact of hosted events. She highlighted its role in promoting sustainability and positive outcomes, aligning with the Global Destination Sustainability Movement. The framework is expected to support various sectors across the UK while addressing social, environmental, and economic priorities.

In addition to the educational sessions, attendees had the opportunity to indulge in Scotland's incredible hospitality at a welcome reception at the newly renovated Moxy Edinburgh Fountainbridge rooftop bar and a gala dinner at the National Museum of Scotland.