New National Events Strategy

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

Click here to view the strategy in full.

‘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.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said:
“Since the launch of the first national events strategy in 2008, Scotland has achieved many remarkable feats, becoming established as an elite event destination, especially following an incredible year in 2014 with the XX Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, MTV Europe Music Awards and Homecoming Scotland all taking place.
“With the launch of Scotland – The Perfect Stage, we look forward to the prospect of continuing to welcome events of international significance, while developing the signature events which attract visitors to Scotland year after year, such as The Open Championship and Edinburgh’s Festivals, and events which are of crucial importance to the local communities that they support.”

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.

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. 

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