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Budget plan opposed

Academics urge rethink on Marketing Edinburgh cuts

Brian Corcoran,Turing Festval

Brian Corcoran: ‘great support’ (pic: Terry Murden)


More than 75 Edinburgh academics and researchers have condemned Edinburgh City Council’s proposal to slash the budget for Marketing Edinburgh.

Representatives from several disciplines including medical sciences, paediatrics, ecology and data sciences, have voiced their concern that the cuts would damage the city’s reputation as a conference and meeting destination. 

Members of the ‘Edinburgh Ambassador’ Programme, managed by Convention Edinburgh, have written to councillors or submitted their views through the council’s consultation hub. Between them, they represent business, scientific and academic institutions, including all four of the city’s universities, Roslin Innovation Centre and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

With Marketing Edinburgh facing 89% budget cuts over the next two years – a reduction of £790,000 – they say the future of the organisation and the Edinburgh Ambassador Programme is in jeopardy.

Since 1998, Edinburgh ambassadors have secured 1,348 conferences with 528,605 delegates to Edinburgh which resulted in an economic impact of £900 million for the city.  

Felicity Mehendale, honorary senior clinical lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Without the professional expertise and help from Marketing Edinburgh, I would not have been successful in winning the bid for the four-yearly International Cleft Conference in 2021 – this will be the first time it has ever been held in the UK.

Brian Corcoran, CEO, Turing Festival said: “Marketing Edinburgh has been a great support to us in our journey so far – helping source venues and hotels and creating synergies by connecting us to other operators in the city.

“Frankly, we are much more likely to be successful in creating the UK’s flagship tech conference in Edinburgh if there are resources like Marketing Edinburgh in place to help us.”

Amanda Ferguson, head of business tourism, Convention Edinburgh, said: “Reducing our budget by such a large amount means we would no longer be able to support our ambassadors to bring conferences to the city and thereby deny the city important economic impact and opportunity to show case the strength of our knowledge economy.” 

In 2017/18 Convention Edinburgh confirmed 108 conferences, meetings and other corporate events with a total economic impact of £72m.

Edinburgh Councillors will vote on the city’s 2019/20 proposed budget on 21 February.


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