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Glasgow wins best UK convention bureau award for 11th consecutive year

Glasgow has been named the UK’s Best Convention Bureau for a record-breaking 11th consecutive year at the 30th anniversary of the Meeting & Incentive Travel (M&IT) Awards. 

Glasgow was voted number one ahead of strong competition from London & Partners, Liverpool Convention Bureau, Marketing Manchester, Newcastle-Gateshead Convention Bureau and Convention Edinburgh, in a UK-wide poll conducted by the influential industry magazine, M&IT. 

Glasgow’s conventions team has worked with a number of industry-wide partners to deliver over £1 billion worth of business to the city since it first won the title in 2007.

That equates to securing more than 3,500 domestic and international conferences, with some 1.3 million conference delegates having spent more than four million nights in the city’s hotels.

In the last financial year alone, Glasgow won 513 new conferences through to 2022 worth £141 million – the city’s best ever annual return.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Glasgow’s Convention Bureau, said: “Winning this award 11 times is unprecedented and reinforces our reputation not just as the UK’s conference capital, but as a world-class conventions centre.

“The M&IT Awards are recognised as the industry’s ‘Oscars’ and Glasgow’s unrivalled success is testimony to the outstanding partnership working that exists right across our conventions sector – from VisitScotland, the SEC and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, our five universities and the wider business community including Greater Glasgow Hotels Association, Glasgow Restaurant Association, Glasgow Taxis and ScotRail, to name but a few.

“With the launch of the city’s new tourism plan, and with business on our books to 2022 and bids in planning as far out as 2026, Glasgow’s capability and credibility in the global conventions market is stronger than ever before – and this award ensures we will continue to grow from a position of strength.

“Through continued innovation and collaboration, Glasgow’s conventions team will continue to drive the city’s competitive advantage; delivering a clear message to the meetings industry that Glasgow is open for business.”

Kathleen Warden, Director of Conferences at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), said: “This is fabulous news for Glasgow and for the SEC, which accounts for almost 80% of overseas delegates coming to the city annually.

“Glasgow’s convention bureau does an outstanding job; their commitment to clients, delegates and partners is without question the best in the world. The sheer volume of conferences won by the team and city partners over the past 11 years has been a key factor in Glasgow’s economic prosperity and we look forward to continuing to be a part of that winning team.”

Commenting on the win, Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, said: “Many congratulations to Glasgow’s conventions team for retaining the title of Best UK Convention Bureau; an accolade which underpins Scotland’s reputation as a world-leading conference destination.

“Business tourism makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s tourism economy and the benefits conferences and business events bring to the country extend well beyond delegate spend, reinforcing our expertise in key industries, delivering a lasting legacy and ensuring that Scotland continues to punch above its weight in this hugely important sector.”

Steven Jenkinson, Conference and Events Manager for the Royal College of Nursing,who worked with Glasgow’s conventions team to bring more than 4,000 delegates to the city for the RCN Congress in June 2016 said: “Glasgow’s conventions team provided excellent support and expert advice in helping the RCN to deliver a truly fantastic congress last year, so I’m not one bit surprised by this announcement. The city welcome was fabulous and the event at the SEC worked extremely well for us.”

Ian Mills, from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, led the city’s bid to attract the International Society for Music Education conference, which brought over 2,000 overseas delegates to Glasgow last year. He said: “Glasgow’s conventions team went above and beyond to ensure our conference was both inspiring and memorable for delegates. The support we received was second to none.”

Major conferences won by Glasgow in the current financial year (2016/17) include:

  • The International Congress of Paediatrics in 2021, which will bring 4,500 delegates to the city and generate nearly £11 million for the local economy;
  • The Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in 2019, which will bring 3,500 delegates to the city and boost the local economy by more than £7 million;
  • The National Cancer Research Institute Congress in 2018, which will bring 1,700 delegates to the city, generating £3.5 million for the local economy.

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