Press release -

Getting down to Business

THREE of Scotland’s major business events have been shortlisted for a national award at Scotland’s tourism Oscars.

Business events curated or hosted by Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), Cashel Travel and DataLab will battle it out to be crowned Best Business Event at this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards National Final to be held on 14 March at the EICC.

The category - which was launched as a national category for the first time last year to mark the 25th year of Scotland’s premier tourism awards scheme - celebrates the importance of business events in showcasing Scotland’s world-class credentials as a destination for congresses, meetings and incentive programmes from around the world.

Business events have been identified as a key factor in the ability to succeed in Scotland’s drive to grow visitor spend by £1bn by 2020.

The three finalists for Best Business Event are:

  • Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) for hosting the annual congress for The European Orthodontic Society (EOS). Held in a different European destination every year, the EICC hosted the event in June 2018 with 2,300 delegates travelling to the city. The success of the congress relied upon a city-wide collaboration and a festival-style approach, unfamiliar to the business events industry. Judges were impressed by the level of collaboration, logistical prowess and client feedback from hosting this highly prestigious European congress.
  • Cashel Travel for hosting the Norwegian Client Incentive for a Norwegian supermarket chain. 850 guests travelled to Edinburgh in September 2017 for the annual event, which is held in a different location in Europe every year and consisted of business meetings, gala dinners and incentive activities. Judges were impressed by the evolution of this complex business event, from the bid to win the event through to arranging imaginative experiences using multiple suppliers and venues across the city.
  • DataLab for DataFest 18. The festival of data innovation hosts a range of events across the country to showcase Scotland’s leading role in data on the international stage, while offering an unprecedented networking platform where attendees can interact with local and international talent, industry, academia and data enthusiasts. It comprises of an international conference, recruitment event, executive dinner and fringe events organised by local partners. Judges were impressed by the scale of DataFest 18 and the engagement with a wide range of stakeholders within and beyond tourism and the data sector.

The Scottish Thistle Awards celebrate success, innovation and excellence in Scotland’s tourism and hospitality industry. The Best Business Event category celebrates creative, logistically complex or prestigious Business Events including Incentive Programmes, Association Congresses, Product Launches, Corporate Conferences, and Exhibitions held in Scotland.

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland said: “We are delighted with the strong calibre of business events shortlisted for this award, which is a reflection of the excellence and innovation that makes Scotland a world-class destination for business events. These awards are also a chance to recognise the important role business events plan in creating economic and social change.”

Rebecca Brooks, Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel, said:

“On behalf of the panel, I’d like to congratulate all of those business events shortlisted for the national final. The Scottish Thistle Awards let us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry and we look forward to celebrating another fantastic year of excellence, innovation and best practice with all our wonderful national finalists in March.”

The Scottish Thistle Awards are led by a panel of industry experts from several organisations including VisitScotland, Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards, the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) and the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, sportscotland and Wild Scotland.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:


  • Tourism


  • business events
  • corporate communications
  • scottish thistle awards


  • Scotland

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • 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
  • 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

Scotland’s Themed Years

  • Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and opportunities for collaboration.
  • 2020 has been designated as a year in which Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.
  • The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors.
  • A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky.
  • Join the conversation using #YCW2020
  • 2022 will be the Year of Scotland’s Stories - a celebration of our rich literature, film, oral traditions and myths and legends.

Press contacts

Amelia Whittaker

Press contact Senior Corporate Press Officer - Regional Contact for media enquiries on: South Region; Edinburgh and Lothians; Food and Drink; Scottish Thistle Awards 01750 723806

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