2014 has seen a “step-change” in Scotland’s capacity, capability and credibility within the major events industry following the hugely successful delivery of The 2014 Ryder Cup, according to VisitScotland’s events directorate EventScotland.
With 250,000 spectators and a broadcast reach of over half a billion homes, The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest events in world sport, and has provided Scotland with yet another opportunity to demonstrate its credentials. Veteran of nine Ryder Cups, American Butch Harmon described Gleneagles as the “best organised” event he’d ever been to on Sky Sports – a fantastic endorsement for Scotland.
Scotland has welcomed the world this year with a portfolio of major events that includes the Commonwealth Games, MTV Europe Music Awards (EMA) and the IAAF Diamond League. These events are all secured for Scotland, in direct competition with major countries and cities around the world, and through hosting they generate a significant economic impact for the country through event tourism.
The last European Ryder Cup in Wales in 2010 generated over £82million and it is thought that the 2014 match could reach £100million in the event-week alone. When MTV roll into Glasgow in November, the EMA is expected to deliver around £10million for the Scottish economy, as well as showcase the country to the world through a global network of channels.
A 2008 showed the value of the Scottish events industry to be £1.5billion, but following six years of strong growth in major events, the current value is thought to be considerably more.
Business events and conferences also continue to drive significant economic benefit with visitor spend nearly twice that of leisure tourists. Business tourism is already worth £878million per annum – 20% of visitor spend - and is on course to become a £1billion industry in its own right.
Momentum is growing, with Scotland set to host three World and two European Championships next year, alongside the first ever presentation of the Turner Prize and the return of both The Open Championship and the Women’s British Open.
The World Gymnastics Championships, taking place at the SSE Hydro in October, was secured against stiff competition from Orlando and Paris. Scotland has also recently been named by UEFA as a host for four matches during EURO 2020, which followed the week after Tollcross in Glasgow was chosen as the venue for the 2018 European Swimming Championships.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “There has been a step-change in how we are perceived around the world in terms of major events and we are now most certainly amongst the global elite. Over the past decade our reputation has grown rapidly and we have shown that we are now in a select group of established major event destinations, with international federations and property owners seeing the benefit in bringing their events to Scotland.
“What is important is that we are now renowned for our experience and expertise in event delivery; which is complimented by our fantastic built and natural environments, our rich culture and heritage, and our people. Bidding for events is a highly competitive process, but we have developed an innovative structure and approach to major events, which has proven to be very successful. Our model has been replicated around the world, which is a clear sign of what we have achieved.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “Major events play a key role in Scotland’s tourism offering and our world-leading approach has put us at the forefront of this global industry. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we are in the enviable position of having some truly world-renowned properties, which are supported by major one-off events and Championships.
“The impact on wider industries is significant, and it truly puts tourism at the heart of the Scottish economy. 2014 has seen us host some of the biggest events in the world, and we are using the year as a launchpad into 2015, where we will welcome even more major events to Scotland.”