Conference boost

Major events drive EICC to another record year


Marshall Dallas, centre, is eagerly awaiting the 2019 Ted Summit


Booking some of the world’s most significant events contributed to a record year for the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Operating profit for the year to the end of December came in at £1.4 million (2017: £1.2m) on revenue of £11.8m (2017: £11.2m). Economic impact reached £58.1 million (2017: £55 million), with visitor numbers totalling more than 300,000.  

Marshall Dallas, chief executive, said: “It’s encouraging to have built profitability over the last three years, particularly when you consider we achieved this from a negative base back in 2014 when the venue reported a £1.5m operating loss.”

During 2018, the EICC secured a number of major events, including national and international corporate and association business which accounts for 60% of turnover and attracts the world’s leading thinkers in fields such as life science and technology. The venue has also enjoyed a significant growth in business from the international corporate market where revenues have increased 161% during 2018, with key successes in both financial and tech sectors. 

The results have been underpinned by a number of strategic and tailored activities, including through attending key trade shows around the world to ensure Edinburgh is prominent in buyers’ minds. At IBTM World (a leading global event for the meetings industry) in November, the EICC saw a record number of appointments which offered positive indications of interest from prospective international clients. 

Despite some wider industry concerns around the impact of Brexit, the EICC has grown European association business while continuing to develop revenue streams outside Europe, including in North America and China.

Mr Dallas said: “We have invested heavily in the sales team over the last couple of years and this is now paying dividends.  While UK and European association conferences remain integral for EICC, we’ve increased our activities outside Europe, which we believe to be a prudent measure in the face of the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. 

“We have also worked hard to gain an even better understanding of our customer’s expectations, and this has resulted in the introduction of more flexible conference packages, as well as investments in our technology and our environment practices.” 

Highlights of 2018 have included Michelle Obama, the World Youth and Student Travel Conference and the Linux Foundation’s EU Open Source Summit. 

The 2019 TEDSummit is set to attract more than 1,000 guests from across the globe, who will contribute around £5m to the local economy. Mr Dallas said: “Winning the 2019 TEDSummit was a big coup for the EICC and the city.  It demonstrated that collaboration between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and various city partners can achieve really successful outcomes, which was particularly evident having secured the event against strong competition from across the globe.” 

The EICC which opened in 1995, is owned by the City of Edinburgh Council and operates at arm’s length as an independent commercial venture. 

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