Destination Guide: Scotland

Glasgow's SSE Hydro opens for business

The new £125m SSE Hydro arena in Glasgow opened to the media yesterday ahead of its first concert on Monday.

  • The SSE Hydro exterior (credit: Neale Smith Photography)

    The SSE Hydro exterior (credit: Neale Smith Photography)

  • The SSE Hydro exterior (credit: Neale Smith Photography)

    The SSE Hydro exterior (credit: Neale Smith Photography)

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Built next to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, the purpose-built venue is designed to accommodate concerts, conferences and events.

The arena, which is expected to host around 140 events a year, has the potential to inject £131 million annually into the economy. The current annual economic impact of the SECC, which welcomes 1.5 million visitors a year, is £347m.

Designed by architects Foster & Partners, the SSE Hydro, which is modelled on Greek and Roman amphitheatres, has a capacity of 13,000 and will host gymnastics and the netball finals during the Commonwealth Games next year. 

Sir Ian Grant, chairman of SEC Ltd, said: "In addition to expanding our capacity and being able to attract the world’s biggest stars and global sporting events we have also created more availability in the existing SECC halls, which in turn will generate more exhibition and conference bookings and economic impact for the local economy".

Adrian Gillespie, managing director at Scottish Enterprise, the economic investment agency which contributed £25m to the Hydro build, said: "With the addition of The SSE Hydro, Scotland has a unique combination of exhibition centre, conference centre and arena all within the Creative Clyde area. This is vital for growing our tourism industry, with the Hydro alone expected to generate an extra £56 million in visitor spending. 

"Glasgow is now one of only a handful of European cities capable of hosting large-scale international conferences which attract business tourists. Business tourists stay longer, spend 50% more than a leisure tourist, and tend to travel around Scotland, which is great news for Scotland’s tourism businesses as these visitors can fuel business growth and new tourism products."

 

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