A diverse list of six suppliers have been announced as finalists at the inaugural Best Business Event category at the annual Scottish Thistle Awards.
Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC), Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), Hello Scotland K&N Travel Associates, Political Studies Association and 2B UK will all compete for the gong at this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards National Final to be held on 15 March at the EICC.
The new category, sponsored by M&it/CAT Publications, was launched in the 25th year of Scotland’s premier tourism awards scheme to celebrate the importance of business events in showcasing Scotland’s world-class credentials in sectors such as life sciences and robotics, as well as being a leading destination for congresses, meetings and incentive programmes from around the world.
Business events have been identified as a key factor in the ability to succeed in Scotland’s drive to grow visitor spend by £1bn by 2020.
The six finalists for Best Business Event are:
- Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC) – For hosting the Alzheimer’s Research UK, the largest dementia research conference in the UK, delivering insight into new technologies metabolic factors of dementia and new drug discovery. Judges praised the AECC for “initiating and engaging key non-tourism stakeholders” such as NHS Grampian Health & Social Care Department and Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust.
- Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) – For the Shaw Trust’s Rehabilitation International 23rd Congress, which saw 1,000 delegates from 68 countries attend, bringing an estimated economic impact of £2.4 million. Judges described the congress as a “break-through” in “overcoming accessibility challenges and amplifying the need for equality and inclusiveness in today’s world”.
- Hello Scotland – For the Amway North American Growth Council Incentive, a strategically focused retreat for 80 Amway executives to meet, discuss and set the direction for the future of the business in an intimate setting, which brought in an estimated £1 million to the economy. Judges said a helicopter castle hunt, requiring air-side arrival and the largest combined helicopter lift in Scottish aviation history, “sets the bar for what Incentives mean in Scotland”.
- K&N Travel Associates – For a Nissan Dealer Australian Incentive in which 38 major Nissan dealership owners were treated to some of Scotland’s iconic experiences such as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Judges said the “creative programme” helped Scotland to beat off strong competition from other countries including Japan, Peru and Iceland, with 70 Scottish suppliers and partners contributing to the success.
- Political Studies Association – For the 67th PSA International Conference which saw more than 770 attendees from around the world coming to Glasgow. Judges described it as an “excellent example” of a business event “showcasing the breadth of academic talent and expertise in Glasgow and Scotland, wrapped around a creative programme using unique local venues”.
- 2B UK – For an American Incentive in which 300 US incentive delegates, who had formed part of a larger 600 delegate group in London, were brought to Scotland where they experienced the “scenery, smells and feel of the highlands” at the Gleneagles Arena. Judges praised the firm for “demonstrating the day-to-day creative and sheer standards required in the business events world of incentives”.
The new category celebrates creative, logistically complex or prestigious Business Events including Incentive Programmes, Association Congresses, Product Launches, Corporate Conferences, and Exhibitions held in Scotland. To qualify for the award, events had to be aimed at a private audience or delegates related to an organisation or company, and not be public-facing or ticketed.
Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted with the strong calibre of business events shortlisted for the inaugural award, which is a reflection of the excellence and innovation that makes Scotland a world-class destination for business events where the destination is not fixed every year, and we have to compete with some amazing places around the world.
“The re-booted category is a chance to celebrate the contribution that business events make to the national economy and recognise the important role they play in creating economic and social change.”