Conference and events boosted the economy of Dundee and Angus to the tune of £71m last year, an annual business tourism report has found.

The figure represents a four per cent growth in delegate numbers compared to 2017, with a 10 per cent hike in international visitors to events.

The 2018 increase in delegate numbers resulted in a combined direct expenditure of over £14 million; an increase of 6% compared to 2017.

Over 257,000 delegates, both from the UK and abroad, travelled to the area to attend a conference or event held in the city in 2018.

Karen Tocher, Business Tourism Manager at Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau, said: “The 2018 figures demonstrate that business events continue to be a growing asset for the local Dundee and Angus economy. The conferences and events held in Dundee in leading industry sectors continue to attract large numbers of delegates to the region, marking a positive impact on the direct expenditure.

“The work of the Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau and all of our partners is attracting increasing numbers of international events to the area and this is resulting in higher numbers of international delegates who spend more during their trips than UK delegates. 

“The intellectual assets derived from the conferences and events held in the region go on to transfer existing knowledge to the local and international community. This active transfer of knowledge fuels the region’s capacity to promote creativity and development for the benefit of a better, more sustainable, society.”

Councillor John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, added: “I am delighted to see the increase in direct economic impact of business tourism, but as welcome as that is, it only tells part of the story.

“People who come to the area for conferences, conventions and other business related activities are some of our best advocates. Not only do they make return leisure visits, they also tell friends and family about everything we have to offer, and other professionals about the first class conference facilities we have here.

“Business tourism is part of a virtuous circle that we are keen to continue expanding and growing.”

Karen added: “As we move away from the traditional model of tourism, we are directing our focus to the strengths and the opportunities that our region has to offer. Together with our business partners – from the universities to the hotels – we will work towards bringing to the fore the region’s propensity for further advancement.

“The 2018 statistics show that Dundee and Angus is exceptionally well positioned to attract a variety of conferences year after year. Recent developments and ongoing initiatives, such as the opening of V&A Dundee and Project Legend #whereideasbecomelegend, an initiative led by VisitScotland’s Business Events, have elevated Dundee’s status in the business events sector.”

Dundee has secured a wide range of major conferences for 2019. The conferences scheduled are estimated to be worth over £1.6 million – another large contribution to the region’s economy.

Karen says: “Dundee’s significant influence on the design industry has inspired two design and architecture events to run in the city. What is more, following competitive bids, we have also secured major international events, including the very first 1st International Symposium on Screw Piles for Energy Applications, the EuroCoalAsh2019, a leading industry event, the Leisure Studies Association Conference (LSA2019) and the World Community Development Conference (WCDC2019). Conferences of such international scale is a chance for Dundee and the region to capitalise on its strengths of transformational thinking and inspire its global audience for further innovation and discovery.

“Other conferences, within the fields of medicine, education, health, transportation and history are also set to take place in 2019. We look forward to collaborating with key organisations, ambassadors and local partners with the aim of promoting Dundee and Angus as a region open to innovation and creativity, with a forward-thinking approach and a drive for economic and social progress.”