Dundee, North East Fife, Perthshire and Angus are joining forces to launch a new coordinated business events strategy for the region in 2019.

Reflecting the collaborative working agreement established by the four local authorities under the £700m UK and Scottish Government-backed Tay Cities Deal, Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau is set to lead on the new shared vision for the Meetings, Incentives, Exhibition & Conference (MICE) industry across the region.

Judy Rae, Chair of Business Tourism for Scotland, said: “Dundee has a great opportunity for investment in business events. Its longstanding markets – namely life sciences, technology and its universities – are key strengths with the potential to innovate within the business events sector and thereby contribute to knowledge transfer into the region.

“Business events have come a long way. Prior to the launch of the TS2020 strategy in 2013, Business Tourism was not recognised as an economic driver for growth within the tourism sector as it is now. The strategy gave the Business Tourism Industry the platform and opportunity to articulate and be the voice for the industry to Scottish Government and key tourism stakeholders and organisations. The success of the Business Tourism for Scotland industry group has resulted in close working partnerships and successful collaboration between Scottish Enterprise and Visit Scotland.”

The regional partners will base their strategy on the industry’s ‘Iceberg Project’ – developed by the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) – which states that the real value of business events impacts ‘lies beneath the surface’ of what can be empirically measured; longer-term benefits of hosting a business event – i.e. new connections made, new knowledge exchanged – are more difficult to measure, but they do exist and researchers such as Drs Deborah Edwards and Carmel Foley, from the University of Technology Sydney, have been able to demonstrate those so-called ‘long-tail’ benefits.

Karen Tocher, Business Tourism Manager for Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau, said: “Aligning ourselves with the national strategy, moving from a traditional tourism model i.e. the pursuit of business events for spend as solely part of the visitor economy, to a policy-driven model which will align with the ambitions and strengths of the economies in the Dundee City Region and Scotland as a whole, without losing sight of the key visitor economy benefits of spend and other factors. We’ll be establishing our sector as one which drives Scotland’s economic and social progress through business events and the civic, economic and international benefits which they bring.”

She added: “We’re a smart city region with intellectual clusters pulling in global knowledge to help local industry to grow and excel on a worldwide scale, we are attracting increased investment and greater talent to our economy from across the globe through business events and this fits within the Scottish Strategy for Business Tourism.”

The Heads of Terms agreement has resulted in a government and industry pledge of £700 million, and the creation of 6,000 jobs, over 10-15 years.

Under the plans there is a commitment of £8.1m from the UK Government to develop an International Aviation Academy in the city and £9.5m from Holyrood for Dundee Airport.