Infrastructure & support

The tourism & events sector is supported by an interconnected network of various types of infrastructure. Glasgow’s winning bid and successful delivery of the 2014 Commonwealth Games accelerated various aspects of tourism infrastructure development, such as construction of venues for large-scale events, hotel properties and upgrades to the transport and telecommunications networks. 

Major sports and cultural events


Glasgow is one of the world’s leading destinations for sporting events, ranking 1st for the best small sports city (population between 600,000-1.3m) and placing 5th overall in the Sports Business Ultimate City (SBUC). The crown jewel of Glasgow’s sport-related achievements is its hosting of the 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, described as the “best games ever” and contributing to Glasgow winning the “Best Legacy” award at the SBUC 2016 awards.

Cultural events

Modelled on Greek and Roman amphitheatres and designed by Foster + Partners, the SSE Hydro at the Scottish Events Campus accommodates 12,500 people and hosts approximately 140 events annually. Glasgow is a must-stop location for concert tours and for international events. The events will include sporting and major international music events. These are estimated to bring in over £130 million to the local economy. The arena is expected to be among the top-five busiest indoor music venues in the world, standing alongside the O2 Arena and Madison Square Garden in terms of scale and visibility. Over 1 million visitors attended SSE Hydro events in 2015/16.

Upcoming sporting events 

  • Glasgow 2018 European Championships – Taking place for the first time in the summer of 2018, the European Championships is set to become a new highlight on the global sporting calendar. To be staged every four years, the Championships will become a must attend, must watch experience that reaches beyond the dedicated fans of the individual sports to a much wider audience. The first edition will be held in partnership between Glasgow and Berlin.
  • European Athletics Indoor Championships 2019 – Glasgow’s successful bid to host the European Athletics Indoor Championships will see the event come to Scotland in 2019. The Championships will be held at the Glasgow Emirates Arena which has previously hosted the prestigious Indoor Grand Prix and the British Athletics International Match from 2013 to 2015.
  • UEFA Euro 2020 – Glasgow is one of 13 cities that will play host to matches at UEFA Euro 2020 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the championship.


Glasgow’s overall events strategy includes a comprehensive convention strategy. Business tourism has contributed over £1 billionn to the local economy, thanks to the city’s determined pursuit of major conference and convention events and a supportive infrastructure enabling convention success. In the past decade, the conference and event business has contributed £827 million to Glasgow’s economy, which has helped the city earn its reputation as Scotland’s conference capital and as a world-class convention host.

The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rank Glasgow as one of the world’s top conference destinations, placing the city at 28th, ahead of major cities, such as Melbourne, Toronto, Boston, Brussels and Dublin.

World Class Business Conferences and Tourism

Glasgow has the capacity and credibility to welcome more conference delegates than every other Scottish city combined, making it a premier European business tourism destination. In 2015/16 this amounted to more than 380,000 delegate days – an 8.4% growth year-on-year. Conferences are confirmed in the city to 2022, with bids in place for additional conferences until 2026.

In 2015/16, The Scottish Events Campus (SEC) hosted 16 business conferences, more than double the amount from 2014/15, and was named 3rd in Pollstar’s global arena ranking.

Hotels & venues

Glasgow now has more than 7,500 hotel rooms in the city centre with an average occupancy rate of 80.2% (STR Global 2016). With a range of exciting new developments – recently opened, coming to fruition or planned – from hotel brands including Accor, Hampton by Hilton, Doubletree by Hilton, Dakota Deluxe, Radisson Red, Motel One and Inside Melia. Glasgow will add almost 1,500 hotel rooms to its accommodation stock. As a major event hot-spot, more hotel rooms are required to meet current and future demand in the city.


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