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Business tourism worth £1.9 billion to Scottish economy

Press Release   •   Jul 10, 2013 00:00 BST

Scotland’s business tourism industry is worth more than £1.9 billion to the country’s economy, a report has revealed.

Commissioned by the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation, the UK Economic Impact Study (UKEIS) is the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of the industry on the British economy ever carried out.

The groundbreaking methodology used is a globally accepted model that has been utilised in Canada, the USA, Australia, Mexico and Denmark.

The extensive research, revealed today at The Meetings Show UK in London, also showed that, in 2011, Scotland hosted 86,524 meetings, of which Edinburgh hosted 28,553.

As well as conference and event venues, the business tourism industry has an impact on the wider visitor economy in Scotland, benefitting cities, towns, universities, resorts, transport, retail, food and drink and much more.

In total, found the report, the UK meeting industry delivers £58.4 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is the UK’s 16th largest employer, which more than half a million people directly employed.

Neil Brownlee, Head of VisitScotland’s Business Tourism Unit, said: “This long awaited report is the UK equivalent of similar research commissioned by the US meetings industry two years ago. It confirms that the meetings industry, or business tourism as we call it here, is an absolutely key sector supporting not only conference centres and hotels, but thousands of other operators not normally associated with tourism, such as AV companies and activity providers.

“It also reminds us that while tourism is one of the Scottish Government’s key target sectors, business tourism uniquely pulls from all the other sectors such as Life Sciences, Energy and Food & Drink. It really is a shop window for Scotland.”

The research was carried out by the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) at Leeds Metropolitan University.

To see the full report, go to


For further information contact:

Tom Maxwell

Corporate Press Officer

Tel: 0131 472 2409

Out of hours media enquiries: 07699 766986

Notes to Editors:

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to