Destination Guide: Scotland

SECC and SSE Hydro gain Quality Assurance Scheme's five-star grading

A Glasgow Commonwealth Games venue has become the latest recipient of a five-star award from VisitScotland, boosting the city's growing status as a world-class business tourism destination.

The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) and the SSE Hydro have been awarded a coveted five-star grading, the top accolade a venue can receive from the national tourism organisation’s Quality Assurance Scheme.

This recognition is further confirmation of the increasing quality of infrastructure in Glasgow ahead of the Games – the biggest sporting event ever held in Scotland.

During the Games, the venues will be in the international spotlight, hosting the gymnastics, boxing, judo, netball, wrestling and weightlifting competitions from 23 July – 3 August.

The five-star grading under VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme means that the SECC – one of Scotland’s key conference venues – and the SSE Hydro have officially been graded as "outstanding", having been assessed on everything from their décor and cleanliness to the attitude of their staff.

It comes on the back of the development of several high-profile new venues in Glasgow, including the £74 million Riverside Museum, the £113 million Emirates Arena and the recently opened Glasgow Tower.

Today (24 July), Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing will address members of Scotland’s business tourism industry, including convention bureaus, hotels and venues, at a special reception at Scotland House.

Situated in Glasgow’s City Hall and Old Fruitmarket, Scotland House will be the place where Team Scotland will celebrate sporting and medal success and where the best of Scottish culture will be showcased.

Over the next two weeks, more than 60 different business events will unite Scottish and Glasgow-based companies with key business contacts, providing an opportunity to highlight Scotland’s business expertise to a global audience. The Glasgow Business Embassy, based within Scotland House, will host around 40 events to showcase the best of the city’s economic prowess.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The newly five-star graded SECC and SSE Hydro will help make Scotland more competitive within the international conference market, while the Conference Bid Fund has been instrumental in helping to attract prestigious, high yield, international conferences to this country.  The importance of business tourism is proven by the pipeline of major conferences due to take place over the coming years."

Peter Duthie, chief executive of Scottish Exhibition Centre, which owns the SECC and the SSE Hydro, added: "To be recognised by the industry with a five-star award is fantastic and further testament of our ability to deliver truly world class events – from conferences and exhibitions in the SECC to concerts for 13,000 in the SSE Hydro.  This award is a great endorsement of our staff and partners who work so hard to make our business successful."
 
Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said that Glasgow has secured more than £1 billion worth of conference business against incredibly fierce global competition.

"This underpins why we are not just the UK’s conference capital, but one of the world’s premier business tourism cities. The growth in business tourism in the city continues unabated with the hotel industry recording 12 months’ consecutive growth leading to a further increase in supply as we welcome five new hotel developments opening in Glasgow city centre."

Visit C&IT's Scotland Destination Guide here

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