Council outlines ten-year plan to maintain Edinburgh's events industry

A new ten-year plan to guide the Scottish Capital’s events industry has been outlined by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Members of the Culture and Sport Committee will be asked to approve a new events strategy next week (Wednesday 31 May). 

The plan - produced following consultation with events professionals from the tourism and events industry - aims to align the city’s events planning with the national framework ‘Scotland: The Perfect Stage’ and to ensure Edinburgh remains an international destination for excellent events. 

It replaces the city’s 2006 plan which helped the successful staging of more than 1,000 one-off indoor and outdoor events in Edinburgh over its decade. Highlights included the 2014 Commonwealth Games diving and Queen’s Baton Relay, the Papal visit in 2010, World Cross Country Championships in 2008 in Holyrood Park and a major stage of the Tour of Britain cycling series in 2015. 

The new strategy for Edinburgh will span major events of international significance and smaller, local activities. Prioritising the less busy months between festival seasons, the strategy strives towards bringing one brand new event to Edinburgh every year of national or international standing. The report reveals this could take the shape of events similar in profile and impact to, for example, hosting the MTV Europe Music Awards and Commonwealth Youth Games. 

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said: “Edinburgh has built a world-wide reputation for hosting high profile events and festivals. We need to draw on our capital city status, our world-class venues and our envious and iconic cityscape to continue enticing excellent events to the city. A new, nationally aligned strategy will help us achieve this. 

“All of our events, from the Council’s annual Winter Festival programme to unique sporting and cultural activities, help make Edinburgh a great place in which to live, work, study and visit. I hope our new approach, which has been developed with the support of professionals from right across the events industry, will guide our aspirations for the next decade.” 

John Donnelly, Chief Executive Marketing Edinburgh, said: “Through our work with leading international organisations such as European City Marketing and BestCities Global Alliance, Marketing Edinburgh is in a unique position to contribute to the city’s Events Strategy and the ‘one city’ approach. 

“The case for a collaborative strategy for Edinburgh’s future event success has never been clearer and we welcome this approach.  Edinburgh enjoys a global reputation for its festivals and Hogmanay celebrations, but a huge opportunity remains to strengthen our cultural and sporting offering, particularly in the quieter shoulder months. 

“The benefits of a dynamic and varied events programme reach far beyond the city limits. Edinburgh is the gateway to Scotland for the majority of its international visitors, the more compelling reasons we can give them to choose Edinburgh, the better for all.” 

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted that Edinburgh has introduced a new strategic vision for events in the city, which directly aligns with Scotland’s national event strategy, Scotland the Perfect Stage. 

“Scotland’s capital can boast some of the most high-profile and valuable event properties in the world, including Edinburgh’s Festivals, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the new strategy will allow these to flourish while also building upon the city’s year-round event offer. 

“The EventScotland team looks forward to working with the City of Edinburgh Council, as well as other stakeholders within the capital’s events sector, to see the objectives of the new strategy realised over the next decade.” 

At the centre of the strategy is the adoption of a ‘One Edinburgh’ approach to delivering and supporting events in the city. This will involve using events as a driver for tourism and regeneration and co-ordinating city dressing and use of public spaces. An Advisory Board made up of representatives from the city’s events organisers, venues, funding agencies and transport bodies will be established to handle and encourage city-wide support for events in the city.

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