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Events re-booked

SEC reports boost to events calendar in sign of revival

SSE Hydro

The Hydro, part of the SEC which is seeing an uplift in bookings (pic: Terry Murden)

The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow is reporting a renewed confidence in the conference sector after securing a number of bookings through to 2026.

New and re-booked events amount to 189,944 participant days for the city and will contribute £144m to the city’s economy, a further £24m to Scotland and £196m as a whole to the UK.

Major international and UK conferences won since the end of last year will take place between 2021 and 2026 and range in size from 300-8,500 delegates, according to trade publication Conference News.

The bookings are in partnership with Glasgow Convention Bureau and the city’s academic institutions.

These include the Organisation for Human Brain Mapping; Royal College of Nursing, and CASE Europe, all for 2022. Three conferences were secured in the last week of June and first week of July .

Securing new dates for COP26 in 2021 provides a welcome boost for the city as we move forward

– Kathleen Warden, SEC

Kathleen Warden, director of conference sales at the SEC, said that while it has been a challenging time for the events industry at large, the SEC has been working with clients around the world to reschedule as many events as possible affected by Covid-19.

“We are continuing to strengthen the business pipeline for years to come,” she said. “These wins are testament to the relentless teamwork with our key city partners and academic community and demonstrate the ongoing need for people to attend events in person.

“What’s more, securing new dates for COP26 in 2021 provides a welcome boost for the city as we move forward and highlights the importance of conferences in driving social and economic progress.”

Aileen Crawford, head of conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said recent weeks have been a huge struggle for the tourism and events industry in Glasgow.

But she said it is reassuring to see that conference organisers continue to be confident that face-to-face meetings are “still valuable and important to the future vision and mission of their organisation.”

She added: “It is important that we continue to secure high profile conferences that are aligned to the city’s key sectors and areas of academic research excellence, as they will support the socio-economic recovery of the city in the medium to long term.”

Events still uncertain

Uncertainty still hangs over the sector with a number of events planned for this year not guaranteed to go ahead. Some organisers admit that while venues have been booked, they have yet to decide on the format of events, which could see some revert online.

The Scottish Beer Awards were pushed back to September and are now due to go ahead at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on 14 October. Organiser KD Media said it has “pledged to make every effort to stage the 5th annual competition as normally as possible in 2020”.

However, it admitted: “Given the huge disruption to brewing this year, the format of the awards event is currently being considered.  Further announcements will be made as soon as decisions can be made.”

Breweries must register online for the competition and submit their written entries before close of play on 10 August.

Plans are progressing for the judging panel to meet and assess all entered product in the week commencing 24 August, also at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.  The tasting event plans to go ahead in a socially distant and highly cleansed environment and subject to the necessary Scottish government advice and consents. 

Other reorganised events include:

Food and Drink Excellence Awards: 10 September

EventIT: 25 September

Scottish Legal Awards: 1 October 

EIE20: 14 October

Scottish Home Awards: 29 October

Scottish Whisky Awards: 19 November

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