Conference News Supplements Scotland Supplement - Page 3

3 Scotland Edinburgh expectations Natasha Breen, head of marketing and communications at Edinburgh First, on why the Scottish capital should be at the top of your list hat are the benefits of hosting a conference in Edinburgh? Edinburgh is one of the UK’s leading cultural hubs, famed for its historic architecture, Michelin-star restaurants, and as a starting point for travel to the highlands, making it an attractive destination for those organising a conference or event. Scotland’s capital city is the second most popular conference and event destination in the UK, according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), topped only by London. As one of only a handful of UK cities listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers a unique experience for delegates, by offering conference venues steeped in history, such as the 19th century McEwan Hall, which combines classic architecture with state-of-the-art conference facilities. Having convenient and comfortable accommodation where delegates can unwind and network can be as important to organisers as the conference venue. The capital city has accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, from traditional venues to modern hotels and self-serviced apartments. Edinburgh’s compact city centre means these options are often within walking distance of the conference venue, as well as cultural landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle, The Palace of Holyrood House, and the iconic Arthur’s Seat. Convention bureau Edinburgh First operates a number of conference venues and accommodation services - with award-winning catering choices – throughout the city, and our Event Management Service can help event organisers plan their event every step of the way. How has conferencing changed in Edinburgh over recent years? In recent years, we have noticed a rise in the number of large conferences, at a value of £50,000 or higher, held in Edinburgh. Some of these conferences have accommodated several hundred delegates at once, often for more than a day. Edinburgh’s range of unique, large venues, as well as the accommodation and catering on offer, make it a great choice for this increasing demand. As in other parts of the UK, conference organisers and delegates in Scotland are demanding that catering features greater use of fresh, locally-sourced produce. This is reflected in Edinburgh First’s conference catering offerings. For example, the local and healthy food and drink options provided by the catering team at Edinburgh First has been recognised by VisitScotland, through the Taste our Best accreditation. Finally, organisers are looking for more than just a traditional conference room. They want to create an experience that delegates will remember – something that Edinburgh’s unique and historical venues can offer in abundance.