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Edinburgh wins world congress bid

Press Release   •   May 05, 2016 11:53 BST

Edinburgh’s international reputation in medical and paediatric science received a significant boost today (5 May 2016), with the announcement that the city has won the bid to host an influential world congress in 2021.

Jointly led by Convention Edinburgh and host venue, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), and supported by VisitScotland, the prestigious Sixth International Symposium on Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2021 (PIBD2021) is expected to attract 800 delegates, generating over £1.3million over the four day event. 

As well as showcasing the city’s strong business tourism offering, PIBD2021 will cement Edinburgh’s position at the forefront of research and treatment of inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD, comprising ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease). IBD is a pernicious disease which has seen a momentous rise in paediatric cases in Scotland. Studies show that during the last 45 years, the rate of new cases of IBD in children under 16 years of age has increased by 460%, while Crohn’s disease has risen by 740%.

It is hoped that the conference, which is supported by VisitScotland’s Conference Bid Fund, will not only aid further innovation and research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of IBD, but raise public awareness of the disease in Scotland, helping to reduce the stigma and embarrassment that often accompanies bowel related illnesses.

David Wilson, Professor of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at University of Edinburgh and President of PIBD2021, said:“I’m delighted that Edinburgh was selected to host PIBD2021. Synonymous with medical tradition and innovation, Edinburgh has been at the forefront of global IBD research for the last 50 years. Today we’re making significant steps, including trying to define the huge impact of environmental triggers, such as dietary and antibiotic factors, in cause and relapse in cases. 

“This conference will leave an important legacy for Edinburgh and Scotland, not only in moving us a step closer to one day finding a cure, but raising awareness of IBD. Through my work, particularly at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, I’m acutely aware of the tremendous difficulties IBD causes for children and their families.” 

Lesley Williams, Head of Business Tourism at Convention Edinburgh, said: “Winning PIBD2021 was the result of hard work and brilliant collaboration between ourselves, EICC and the team at University of Edinburgh and Sick Kids.  Together we were able to present a robust bid that not only built on Edinburgh and Scotland’s global reputation in PIBD research, but showcased a vibrant city that would accommodate all delegates’ needs and inspire them.

“As the UK’s number one destination for international association meetings outside London, forward-thinking investment has endowed us with the facilities and operational strength to deliver important conferences like these. This enables delegates and conference organisers to focus on the science surrounding this important paediatric disease.”

Marshall Dallas, the EICC's Chief Executive, said: "The EICC has a longstanding tradition in hosting events for the medical sciences industry, with many UK and international associations in this area choosing Edinburgh for their major conferences.  That reputation, built up through the hard work of the team here, continues to pay dividends and we're delighted that PIBD2021 will take place at the EICC to the great benefit of the local economy." 

Rory Archibald, Business Development Manager at VisitScotland, said: “Winning the right to host the Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symposium 2021 is a real coup for Edinburgh, with the prestigious event expected to generate more than £1 million for the economy.

“Given the leading research being done by the team at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, the capital is an appropriate choice for the symposium and we are delighted to be supporting it through the VisitScotland Conference Bid Fund.”


For media enquiries regarding Convention Edinburgh and Marketing Edinburgh, please contact Ali Liddy at Wire Media.
T: 0141 440 6761, 07968 023 141 E:

Notes to editors

About Convention Edinburgh
The business tourism arm of Marketing Edinburgh, Convention Edinburgh is the lead organisation responsible for promoting Edinburgh and Lothians as a premier conference, incentive, meetings and event destination. A membership organisation representing over 180 industry members including venues, attractions, transport providers and conference organisers, Convention Edinburgh provides professional and tailored advice on bid preparation, venue finding, accommodation and all conference services - free of charge. 

The ‘This is Conferencing’ video can be viewed here.

About the EICC
Opened in 1995, the remit of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) is to drive economic impact to the city and to date has helped deliver around £500 million to the local economy while welcoming over one million delegates and 3,000 conferences to the venue.  Owned by City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) and operated at arm’s length as an independent commercial venture, the EICC is the highest ranked UK conference destination outside London according to leading global industry body, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

About the International Symposium on Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Since its launch in 2006, the PIBD Symposium is now a biennial international gathering of researchers and medical professionals, with a common objective to share the latest findings on PIBD and set research aims for the field. The symposium continues to grow, with 480 delegates attending the third PIBD2014 Rotterdam and 600 delegates expected at the fourth PIBD2017 Barcelona next year.

The PIBD Symposium is organised by the Porto IBD working group, a collection of 36 paediatric experts from the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN).  ESPGHAN is committed to generating collaborative international research in paediatric IBD and to provide a leadership role with regards to current diagnosis and management of children with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

About Business Events

  • According to research commissioned by the Meeting Professionals International Foundation in 2013, Business Events are worth £1.9 billion to the Scottish economy
  • The Business Events Industry focuses on Scotland as a destination for conferences, conventions, and incentive programmes.
  • Currently, business events represent 20% of all tourism expenditure in Scotland. Business visitors spend almost twice that of leisure visitors, making it a highly lucrative sector, and it is also less seasonal than leisure tourism.
  • In addition, attracting a major conference reinforces Scotland’s credentials in key industries and can make us a more attractive destination for inward investors, meaning that the benefits of business events extend well beyond delegate spend.

About VisitScotland

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
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    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • 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.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
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    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
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