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Glasgow to position itself as the ‘Gateway to Scotland’

Nearly 150 members from across Scotland’s tourism community are set to gather in Glasgow tomorrow (Tuesday, January 17) for a major industry event following the launch of the city’s new Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023.

Taking place at Drygate Brewery in the city’s east end, Glasgow’s Big Tourism Conversation will be chaired by Amanda McMillan, Managing Director of Glasgow Airport, and feature a keynote address from Danish travel and tech expert, Emil Spangenberg; formerly Director of Digital Marketing and Communications with Visit Copenhagen.

The day will also include an interactive workshop, networking opportunities and a Q&A session with a panel of leading tourism professionals, including:

  • Dr Bridget McConnell CBE, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life;
  • Callum Ross, Chairman of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) Scotland and Co-Chair of Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative (AITC);
  • Emily Moore, Acting Head of Tourism Affairs at VisitBritain;
  • Anne Ledgerwood, General Manager of St Enoch Centre and Chair of Glasgow’s City Centre Retail Association (CCRA);
  • Simon MacQuarrie, Managing Director of digital design agency Creative Cell, which is leading the £1 million Tennent’s Story project; a joint initiative with The School of Simulation and Visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art and ZM Architecture geared at bringing the 500-year story of one of Scotland’s most iconic brands to life as a new visitor attraction opening in autumn this year.

The event has been organised by tourism partners Glasgow Life, Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland.

As one of Europe’s most vibrant and diverse destinations, Glasgow is recognised as a world-class city in which to live, work, study, invest, meet and visit. The city is Scotland’s cultural powerhouse – home to the largest cultural offer, the largest sporting infrastructure and the largest retail centre in the UK outside London.

Glasgow is also recognised as having the UK’s best Convention Bureau, responsible for securing major domestic and international conference business; is a global top five city for sporting events and, in the SSE Hydro, has the third busiest entertainment arena in the world.

Glasgow currently attracts just over two million tourists each year, spending almost £500 million. Additionally, some 20 million day visitors contribute approximately £1 billion to the local economy on an annual basis. 

Launched last November, Glasgow’s Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023 is the new framework through which the city will attract one million more visitors and position Glasgow as the ‘gateway to Scotland’.

The plan sets out a clear direction for continuing to build the city’s global profile as a successful tourist destination and is focused on increasing overnight leisure tourism visits by one million over the next seven years. 

Achieving three million overnight visits per year by 2023 will deliver an economic boost of £771 million and contribute an additional 6,600 jobs in the city.

It will also help to achieve Scotland’s target of an additional £1 billion of visitor expenditure by 2020 and align with the aims of the Glasgow City Region City Deal; supporting the growth of the region’s economy.

To deliver this ambition, Glasgow has prioritised the positioning of its cultural tourism offer in key UK and international markets which, for the first time, is centred around six core themes: heritage; contemporary art; music; Charles Rennie Mackintosh; events and the city’s capability as a world-class sporting destination.

The plan will also promote Glasgow as a place to study and work and capitalise on the unique characteristics of its greatest asset, its people.

With more than a decade’s worth of international experience, Emil Spangenberg is recognised as a thought leader across emerging trends in digital and travel as well as destination marketing strategy, branding and leadership.

He has hosted international conferences and worked with governments, brands and cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Hamburg, New York City and Norwegian Airlines.He believes collaboration between industry and the public sector, which is at the heart of Glasgow’s tourism plan, is a key enabler of increased innovation, investment and economic growth.

He said: “Glasgow is launching itself on an ambitious and interesting path for the future at a time when the digital explosion has caused a radical shift in consumer purchasing behaviour, particularly in the travel sector.

“Building strong ties with more, and new, stakeholders at every level together with an ability to leverage resource, remain agile, respond quickly and move forward in a rapidly changing, real-time marketplace will be absolutely key to the success of Glasgow’s new tourism plan and the city is certainly starting from a strong position.

“I’m looking forward to sharing knowledge with my Glaswegian colleagues and supporting the city’s tourism evolution.”

Read the original news release from Glasgow City Marketing Bureau

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