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New national events strategy

Press Release   •   Sep 16, 2015 12:03 BST

A new ten year collaborative strategy to grow Scotland’s £3.5 billion events industry was unveiled today.

‘Scotland – The Perfect Stage’ sets out how Scotland can enhance its reputation nationally and internationally as the perfect stage for events.

Today’s strategy updates the previous version, which culminated in the unprecedented success of 2014 when Scotland hosted the 20th Commonwealth Games, 2014 Cultural Programme, The Ryder Cup and more than 1,000 events in the Homecoming Scotland 2014 programme.

Produced with over 100 contributions from the public, private and third sectors, the strategy covers everyone involved in planning, securing, supporting and delivering events in Scotland. This includes major events of international significance and smaller events supporting local communities.

At the centre of the strategy is equal responsibility for delivery on the Scottish Government, the Events and Festivals sector and individual event organisers. This represents a more collaborative approach to ensure that Scotland continues to develop, improve and invest in the events industry.

According to the Scottish Events and Festivals Association (SEFA), the industry is currently worth an estimated £3.5 billion a year to the Scottish economy.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, said:

“The events and festivals sector is a major contributor to the Scottish economy locally and internationally, creating jobs and making a significant contribution to our standing on the world stage.

“This strategy draws on Scotland’s credentials as the perfect stage for events and the learnings from what was an unprecedented year for us in 2014. It sets out how we will build on our existing experience, expertise and reputation for hosting successful events by working together with a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations to develop an even stronger, more dynamic events industry for Scotland.

“This will ensure Scotland continues to develop, improve and invest in events over the next ten years, with clear economic, social and reputational benefits for Scotland.”

VisitScotland Chairman, Dr Mike Cantlay OBE, said:

Events are an increasingly crucial part of Scotland’s tourism offering. In 2014, the eyes of the world were on Scotland as we celebrated the Year of Homecoming, The Ryder Cup and XX Commonwealth Games. We continue to build on that momentous year and show that Scotland’s facilities, infrastructure and, most importantly, warm and welcoming people make it the perfect stage to deliver major events to the highest standards.

“The national strategy unveiled today will be a valuable tool in helping to galvanise the event industry, building confidence, harnessing skills and cementing our reputation as a leading destination for international events. This year Scotland has already played host to the IPC Swimming World Championships and FEI European Eventing Championships, while The Turner Prize and World Gymnastics Championships are all due here before the end of 2015.With our new strategy I look forward to welcoming even more world-class events to our shores in the future.”

Brigadier David Allfrey MBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Events and Festivals Champion for the Scottish Tourism Alliance explained, however, that it is also crucial for the strategy to nurture local events, which deliver very real benefits for communities nationwide. He said:

“The Perfect Stage is not only a description of Scotland’s offer to events and festivals organisers but it is also an aspiration of what we have to work towards. The strategy sets out clearly how we can all play our part in delivering growth. It is crucial we nurture all our events, not just those that make headlines but those with local character and reach - those that contribute so much to communities. 

“Most importantly, the strategy provides a framework for thinking and a guide for further graft. It invites us to work together to upskill our staff, to develop the local, national and international offers, to be innovative in staging existing events and growing new ones, all the while looking to the needs of potential customers and audiences who are looking to be inspired.”


‘Scotland – The Perfect Stage’ comprises the Events and Festivals aspect of ‘Tourism Scotland 2020’, a strategy for the tourism industry established by the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

The strategy is available at:

The Perfect Stage strategy focuses on:

  • Promoting the importance to successful events of communities and partnerships between the public, private and third sectors.
  • Sustaining support for investment for events from private, public and third sectors.
  • Working together to tackle inequality.
  • Better consideration of transport links, technology and accommodation within long term event planning.
  • Using events to promote Scotland to the wider world.
  • Continuing to develop existing Scottish events, as well as securing one-off events.
  • Recognising events as a driver of Scotland’s visitor economy.
  • Developing the industry through further higher, post-graduate and CPD courses, as well as the exchange of best practice.
  • Improving how the economic, social, environmental and promotional value of events is evaluated.

‘Scotland – The Perfect Stage’, the national events strategy, is the result of an 18-month consultation process involving Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance and over 100 active participants from the public, private and third sectors.

VisitScotland’s Events Directorate has led the development of the strategy and, through the work of its EventScotland team, Scotland has already been announced as host of golf’s global stars for The Open Championship in 2016, many of the world’s finest athletes for the European Sports Championships in 2018, and Europe’s footballing elite for UEFA Euro 2020. Landmark celebrations are set to take place in 2017 to mark the 70th anniversary of the emergence of the Edinburgh Festivals.

Scotland is also one of two nations bidding to host the 2019 Solheim Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, to be decided later this year.


Joe Walton – 0131 244 4008 / 07815 492516

Notes to Editors

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    • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
    • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
    • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
      1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
      2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
      3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
    • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
    • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
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    Year of Food and Drink 2015

    • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
    • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
    • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
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