A total of 46 international association conferences – going up to the year 2021 – have been secured. The conferences, which are set to attract a total of around 62,000 delegates, cover everything from life sciences and education to food and drink and renewable energy.
Scotland’s four biggest cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, have all been making use of the Bid Fund, with other conferences taking place in the likes of Perth, St Andrews, Stornoway and Shetland.
Addressing delegates at Scottish Tourism Week at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, Ewing said: "The impact of tourism on Scotland’s economy is already hugely successful. According to research carried out by Deloitte on behalf of VisitScotland, tourism contributes £11 billion annually to the Scottish economy, with tourism supporting the employment of 270,000 people in 20,000 diverse businesses."
Neil Brownlee, head of business tourism at VisitScotland, said the figure is testament to the close partnership and collaboration around the country which sees local authorities at city and regional level, colleges, universities and venues, all pulling together with VisitScotland and the Scottish Government to get these prestigious conferences ‘over the line’.
"Not only does hosting these conferences enhance our credentials in these target sectors, but business tourism is a key sector itself," he said. "It supports conference centres and hotels throughout the country, and also hundreds of other operators not normally associated with tourism. The Conference Bid Fund has been instrumental in bringing these conferences to Scotland, and we are delighted by its success. It also highlights the long-term potential and sustainable nature of business tourism and business events."