Edinburgh is launching its biggest ever coordinated sales pitch to meetings and events buyers after responding to criticism that the city’s approach had not been ‘joined up’ in the past.

Six partner organisations plus the national tourism agency, VisitScotland, are part of an £80,000 digital marketing campaign that ties together the diverse business tourism offer in the city for the first time.

Hoteliers, airport bosses, flagship conference venues and tourism industry leaders have all backed the ‘Make It Edinburgh’ campaign, which was unveiled last night at a launch ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland.

The campaign – led by Convention Edinburgh – also focuses on key industry sectors that have proved economically successful for the city with the aim to attract MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) business to match those areas.

Edinburgh’s rich heritage of innovation and its modern cutting-edge research capabilities will be showcased and the campaign will also seek to reassure international market jitters about political and economic uncertainty caused by Brexit and the spectre of another independence referendum in Scotland; the rise of competitor cities’ access to ‘subvention’ funding schemes which allow them to tempt meetings to their destinations through cash incentives will also be dealt with in the campaign.

Amanda Ferguson, Head of Business Tourism at Convention Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh has been criticised in the past for not being as ‘joined up’ as other competitor cities, but this campaign will prove otherwise. Never before has the city undertaken a marketing campaign on this scale, bringing together private sector partners, working collaboratively through Marketing Edinburgh, the city’s Destination Marketing Organisation.”

She added: “The message we aim to promote is that Edinburgh is synonymous with innovation, discovery and thinking, a rich history of heritage, full of inspiring locations, buildings and people. Hence conference organisers should ‘Make it Edinburgh’. The campaign gives us a powerful collective voice that will help us develop our business tourism offering and promote Edinburgh’s world leading Centres of Excellence.”

Make it Edinburgh’ has been made possible by the collaboration of private and public organisations operating in the conference and meeting industry. The ‘biggest ever’ joint partnership of its kind within the city, a £40,000 investment by the VisitScotland Growth Fund has match-funded support from flagship partners: Convention Edinburgh, Edinburgh Hotel Association, Edinburgh Airport, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Tourism Action Group.

Edinburgh’s Centres of Excellence, a key driver for business tourism, take centre stage in the campaign, focusing on six priority sectors in which Edinburgh excels across research and academia, as well as industry and enterprise. Progress and innovation across Technology, Life Sciences, Creative Industries, Food and Drink, Renewable Energy and Financial Services will all be showcased throughout the 12-month integrated media and marketing campaign.

‘Make it Edinburgh’ will also align with VisitScotland’s Business Events’ soon to launch national business events campaign, Legends. By focusing on Edinburgh’s leading sectors, ‘Make it Edinburgh’ can integrate with VisitScotland’s planned activation and the Scottish Government’s 2020 Tourism Strategy Delivery Group.

Neil Brownlee, Head of Business Events at VisitScotland, said: “Business events are vital to the Scottish economy and are an integral way of promoting this country as a place to live, work, visit and invest. With its wealth of world-class venues, attractions and expertise, Edinburgh has a huge amount to offer the meetings industry and we are delighted to support this exciting new marketing campaign through the VisitScotland Growth Fund.”

Convention Edinburgh and its partners secured 117 meetings for the city last year, generating over £74 million for the local economy.  With the majority of meetings and conferences taking place in the quieter ‘shoulder’ months, business tourism is a key economic driver for the city, benefiting not only venues and accommodations providers, but a wide range of local businesses including restaurants, taxi companies, florists and photographers.

Second only to London in the UK for international conferences, and ranked 27th in the ICCA Global City Index, Edinburgh’s worldwide reputation as a business tourism destination is widely recognised.  A compact city that is easily walkable and accessible, Edinburgh offers unique combination of rich heritage assets and stunning architecture, paired with an unrivalled knowledge base generated from the city’s four universities and research hubs.

Tristan Nesbitt, Chair, Edinburgh Hotel Association said: “With over 20,000 hotel beds available, Edinburgh’s impressive and diverse accommodation offering is an important part in the city’s appeal as a business tourism destination. This campaign will create an essential platform to more effectively showcase Edinburgh’s hotels and their services.”

Watch the Make It Edinburgh campaign video here.