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Let Edinburgh be your host

Inside this issue:

Ambassador Events In Conversation… Recent Bid Successes Venues Great and Small Spotlight – Edinburgh BioQuarter

Issue 23 Autumn 2010

Cover Image: Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) Ground breaking news! The development of the EICC’s exciting expansion is now underway. This innovative new space, set to open in Spring 2013, will enhance Edinburgh’s position as a global conference destination. It’s a double celebration as the EICC also celebrates its fifteenth birthday – from the inaugural event in 1995 for KwikFit’s Silver Jubilee to the 9th International Mycological Congress (IMC9) in August 2010. See inside to read about the benefits the EICC expansion brings to Ambassadors…

Welcome to the Ambassador Autumn Newsletter. Edinburgh possesses a rich diversity of qualities essential for a globally attractive and successful business tourism destination. If you want to add to this success and bring a conference to Edinburgh – then Blueprint is a good place to start!

Spring in the Botanics Dinner with a Difference

This is a key tool to assist you with venue selection, providing detailed information on each of our member venues, accommodation, conference organisers and services. For a free copy of this comprehensive guide please email

Save the date! Wednesday 16 March 2011

Ambassador Event at National Gallery of Scotland

In addition to networking opportunities for Ambassadors, this is an ideal opportunity for you to learn more about the refurbishment of The Scottish National Portrait Gallery which will reopen in November 2011 with improved facilities and a 50% increase in space.

Summer in East Lothian In June, forty eight Edinburgh Ambassadors and guests took a trip to East Lothian for the summer Ambassador event at Gosford House, the seat of the Earls of Weymss and March. Ambassadors were among the first to experience this stunning and unique venue near Longniddry, which opened in May. As well as enjoying a BBQ, Ambassadors had the chance to try their hand at falconry with Raptor World or a golf clinic with the Professional from Craigielaw Golf Club, part of the estate. For the less adventurous there was the opportunity to learn more about Gosford’s fascinating history and art collection. Ambassadors were particularly delighted to be joined by the 13th Earl of Weymss, who added some personal anecdotes about the house. “Very impressive building and interiors – all of this plus its location next to the sea with

On a sunny April evening, over forty Edinburgh Ambassadors and guests were treated to a dinner with a difference at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). In this International Year of Biodiversity, Ambassadors put their minds to the test by exploring the garden, finding clues and tasting the delights of a delicious dinner en route, provided by exclusive caterers Prestige Scotland. During the course of the evening, guests had the opportunity to visit the Terrace Café, the newly refurbished Caledonian Hall and new £15.7m John Hope Gateway visitor centre – all great venues for conferences and meetings. Three experts from the RBGE joined us for the evening and gave Ambassadors a wonderful and interesting insight into the world of ginger, begonia and topical plants. “Venue, food and company of other delegates all excellent. I had expected this to be a dutiful business evening but ended up having a really enjoyable time. Well done for a view across to the city would impress overseas visitors.” Bruce McGorum, Royal (Dick) Vet School, The University of Edinburgh “Extremely enjoyable evening, with perfect timing, lots to see and do, and easy to see how good events could be run at this venue.” Jennifer Willies, Edinburgh Napier University One of our Ambassadors, Mark Hartl, appreciated the opportunity to experience the facilities and has since hosted a conference dinner at Gosford House. Venue Factfile: Maximum capacities: Banqueting 120 / Reception 400 / Theatre 140 • 500 parking spaces • Catering available • No disabled access • Distance – city centre 17 miles Edinburgh Airport – 24 miles • Find out more at •

organising such a good event…” Dr Richard Weller, The University of Edinburgh. To tie in with the recent International Mycological Congress, organised by Edinburgh Ambassador Nick Read, the RBGE hosted the exhibition “From Another Kingdom: The Amazing World of Fungi”. The exhibition ran until 21 November and was a great opportunity to engage the public in the science behind this very successful conference. Venue Factfile: Maximum capacities: Banqueting 160 / Reception 400 / Theatre 100 Larger capacities available with marquee • Parking on street (metered) • Catering available • Disabled Access • Distance – city centre 1 mile Edinburgh Airport – 8 miles • Find out more •

In Conversation… when Alan met Jonathan

Recent Bid Successes – Edinburgh Nets International Fisheries Conference Hundreds of scientists from across the world will meet in Edinburgh to attend the International Congress of the Biology of Fish. The biannual event brings together up to 400 international scientists to discuss the latest research relating to every aspect of a fish’s development from environment to growth, disease and migration.

Jonathan Taylor has been with the Forestry Commission for ten years and is based in Edinburgh. He has held positions in different areas of the organisation and is currently part of the Forestry Commission’s International Policy team, which has responsibility for the Commonwealth Forestry Conference. Jonathan shares his experience with Alan Johnston, Chair of ECB and seasoned Ambassador, of recently hosting the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference. AJ: What was your experience and where did the Bureau help you? JT: It was such a steep learning curve. To have the Bureau readily available and accessible was a huge advantage. AJ: What persuaded the committee to choose Edinburgh as a destination for the 2010 conference? JT: We looked at Oxford, Cardiff and Edinburgh – Edinburgh came through very strongly on what the city could offer – the access, range of accommodation, location of the conference centre and the fact that we are based here made things easier to manage. AJ: Was there any funding support? JT: Very little. When we decided to bring the conference to the UK, we realised we were going to have to support a lot of assisted places. We had some experience and good contacts with the Department for International Development and their international equivalents around the Commonwealth. AJ: Did you find delegates were less willing to sign up until late on? JT: It was definitely a challenge, deciding what to set your early bird rates at, for how long, and whether to extend. The rates needed to be set at a realistic level and we set prices which we felt were reasonable – they included dinner, a reception at the Castle and a field trip. Even so a large chunk of our delegates still booked within the month prior to the conference. AJ: What about the legacy that the conference has left behind?

JT: Putting on a good conference invigorated the Commonwealth Forestry Conference’s future, its role and the value of the event. There had been criticism in the past of where the conference was held and what value it was adding. AJ: Any advice you would pass onto others considering hosting a conference? JT: Planning – you cannot foresee all of the problems that you may encounter but if you have an early understanding of what your focus is for the conference – its key objectives, shape, style and approach – once that is sorted, the rest just follows. Also getting the full “live” price is important to set your registration rates ie the cost of all the elements as early as possible – we found that difficult. I would absolutely recommend a PCO – I found this service to be invaluable. AJ: Anything that could have been better, or where the ECB could have provided additional support? JT: The support was very good. ECB came up with things we had not thought about. They also provided marketing leaflets for us to promote the conference at the World Forestry Conference in Argentina which took place prior to ours. AJ: So did your delegates have a good time? JT: Absolutely! Online feedback returned very few complaints and the success was measured by the large number that stayed on for holidays. Conference Factfile: • Delegates – 400 plus 400 online • Type – Commonwealth from 40 countries • Duration – 5 days • Venues – EICC and Edinburgh Castle • Economic benefit – £774,000 Read the full conversation between Alan and Jonathan at

Organised by the American Fisheries Society Physiology Section, the congress will deliver an estimated £774,000 to the local economy and will be held at the Edinburgh Conference Centre at Heriot-Watt University in July 2014. This conference bid was supported by Edinburgh Ambassador Dr Mark Hartl, Lecturer in Marine Biology at the Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University and also President Physiology Section, American Fisheries Society. Two other major conferences have also confirmed Edinburgh as their host destination. The International Conference on Machine Learning will be held over four days in June 2012 at Edinburgh First, The University of Edinburgh. The conference takes place in Haifi, Israel this year and moves to Washington in 2011. It is expected that 600 delegates will attend giving the event a value of £1.2 million. In July 2012 an international conference on Nitricoxide will be held at the EICC for four days with 500 delegates expected and worth almost £1 million to the economy. Dr Richard Weller from Edinburgh University was our local Ambassador who worked alongside Prof Andrew Gow from Rutgers University in New Jersey to bring this bid to fruition. Sue Stuart, Chief Executive of ECB, explained: “We have invested a great deal of time and effort into developing our Edinburgh Ambassador Programme and working with Ambassadors to attract international association meetings to Edinburgh.”

Conference Tips… Venues Great and Small Edinburgh Convention Bureau has a wide range of member venues for hosting your delegates – whatever sort of event you are planning – from majestic to creative and purpose-built to luxury.

Many of our member venues have meeting spaces that are perfectly suited for smaller, more intimate groups such as committee dinners, hosting sponsors or for entertaining speakers.

These are only a few suggestions… You can search for the most appropriate venue for your delegates at or contact Sales Executive, Colette Black at

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Two venues offering one-of-a-kind events – and you don’t need to be a member of the Society to use the private rooms. The Vaults is the original home of the Society and offers a quiet haven in Leith. In the city centre, 28 Queen Street is a beautifully restored Georgian townhouse spread over three floors leading off a grand, spiral staircase.

Hotel Missoni ‘Here life is beautiful’ is the Missoni motto and we agree! Perfectly positioned at the corner of George IV Bridge and The Royal Mile, Hotel Missoni is one of Edinburgh’s hottest new properties.

The Royal Scots Club This historic venue is ideal if you want to ‘wow’ your committee members with the elegant grandeur of our Georgian New Town.

The unique, atmospheric rooms provide intimate surroundings for small dinners and receptions which of course reflect Scotland’s great whisky industry, although there is also an extensive range of fine wines! Banquet: 8 – 48 / Reception: 20 – 65

The intimate and elegant private rooms are perfect for small events or private dinners and each room incorporates the unique style of the iconic Italian fashion house with bold, colourful fabrics and decor, striking furnishings and artistic tableware. This venue and its breathtaking design will definitely be a talking point for your guests. Banquet: 10 – 40 / Reception: 75

There is a cosy club atmosphere combined with the unique charm of a country house hotel. Stunning views from the large windows overlooking Queen Street Gardens illustrate Edinburgh’s quiet and lush green spaces in the heart of the city. A variety of period rooms provide excellent options for hosting a small private dinner or reception. Banquet: 18 – 120 / Reception: 30 – 150 that there will be no impact as the EICC will remain operational throughout the anticipated 30 month build due to an innovative building design, with the additional function space connected to the existing EICC building on completion.

Developments… Eicc Expansion Now that the EICC expansion is underway to deliver the world’s most technologically advanced events space – how will this benefit the city and Ambassadors? We can now bid for larger events and offer greater exhibition space. Capacity for events will increase by 50% for up to 3,000 delegates and an additional 2,000m2 flexible multi-purpose hall will include a tiered seating auditorium for 1,600 and numerous breakout areas

of delegates and exhibitors means increased financial benefit for your conference and higher economic benefit for the city. Edinburgh remains competitive, particularly in such challenging economic conditions. Given the lucrative nature of business tourism, many other city destinations around the world are investing heavily in this industry and Edinburgh faces increasing and challenging competition from traditional and emerging destinations. Continued investment in Edinburgh’s conference infrastructure is essential if the city is to maintain its competitive position.

The expansion means the city will be able to host more than one large event simultaneously. This increase in capacity and greater flexibility in layout allows for multiple events to be hosted at the same time.

World-class event facilities with technologically advanced features. The underground extension with a flexible hall and moving floor technology will cater for various configurations and uses, ranging from flat-floored exhibition space, through tiered banqueting to raked auditorium and arena setup.

Increase in financial benefit. Being able to accommodate conferences with greater numbers

What does this mean for any events during the development process? The good news is

Over the last 15 years the EICC has hosted nearly one million delegates, delivering an economic benefit of £280m for Edinburgh. Karen Wood, EICC, Head of Event Design said “It has been a tremendous privilege to have hosted such prestigious events over the last 15 years. We now look forward to the future success of our new facility.” Find out more

Usher Hall The Usher Hall redevelopment is now complete with the addition of external landscaping creating a flexible, pedestrian space which lends it an appealing, ‘arts quarter’ ambience. In July, some Ambassadors were kindly invited (along with an audience of around 2,000…) to experience the new facilities of the concert hall – but the highlight was an entertaining and stunning performance by the popular Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins who was appearing in Edinburgh as part of her UK tour, backed by the RSNO.

Spotlight on: Edinburgh BioQuarter

With a history in medical education and research going back 500 years, Scotland has one of the longest and most impressive track records in the world for life sciences. Landmark developments such as Edinburgh BioQuarter, help shape the city’s future as a thriving centre of excellence. In addition this raises the city’s profile and the interest of international associations, which adds further weight to conference bids in this sector. International conferences create ideal opportunities to raise the global profile of Scotland’s industries and academic institutions as well as giving a platform to researchers and experts in their field and introducing delegates to key sector strengths and collaboration opportunities. Edinburgh BioQuarter is a truly unique location. The 100 acre site will offer commercial facilities co-located with a world-class teaching hospital, a state of the art clinical imaging research centre, clinical trials units, The University of Edinburgh’s world-renowned medical school and bespoke biomedical research and development facilities. Tenant companies have the opportunity to harness the collaborative power of world-class research and clinical expertise to deliver research, clinical and commercial objectives. The site will continue to expand over the coming years – Edinburgh’s Hospital for Sick Kids will relocate here in 2015 moving into

a brand new, purpose build facility and leaving behind its outdated premises in the city centre. The science park aims to provide a choice of laboratory and office space for commercial organisations, from start-up incubator units to flexible multi-user spaces and strategic individual sites for biomedical companies. A range of facilities will be shared between commercial, academic and health service related research organisations, providing a synergistic environment that encourages collaborative working. Scotland has made some of the world’s most significant contributions in the field of embryology and development biology and Edinburgh is home to Europe’s largest and most highly regarded stem cell research community, with two key centres of excellence; the Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the Institute for Stem Cell Research (ISCR) which are being brought together in the new Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Edinburgh BioQuarter. Over 1,000 life science researchers currently are based at Edinburgh BioQuarter although this number will grow as the park expands. Many are located in The University of Edinburgh’s Queen’s Medical Research Institute, or in the adjacent medical school. This results in high quality ‘bench to

bedside’ research. Many more researchers are located nearby in specialised research institutes such as The Roslin Institute, renowned for its top-class basic and translational science. Mike Capaldi, CEO at Edinburgh BioQuarter says: “Imagine being able to locate your R&D staff in one of Europe’s most beautiful historic cities, providing access to world class biomedical institutes doing everything from basic translational research to clinical development, a growing biotech community backed by a government deeply committed to the life sciences, with a thriving airport on your doorstep serving 100-plus destinations and some of the most picturesque scenery anywhere – that’s Edinburgh, and frankly, I can’t think of anywhere else like it.” Edinburgh BioQuarter is a major collaboration project between Scottish Enterprise, The University of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Edinburgh BioQuarter Queen’s Medical Research Institute 47 Little France Crescent Edinburgh EH16 4TJ lifesciences-initiatives-bioquarter

Case Study… Ninth International Mycological Congress (IMC9) In August 2010, Edinburgh welcomed over 1,700 delegates from 83 countries for the Ninth International Mycological Congress (IMC9), bringing an estimated £4 million of economic benefit to the city. I hope you’re enjoying the Autumn Ambassador Newsletter. This is my favourite season and a great time for the city to host conferences as the autumn colours showcase the city in such a wonderful way. Over the last few months, the Ambassador team at ECB has been looking at ways in which we can develop the Programme and build on its success. Expanding our network of Ambassadors in new sectors is absolutely key and any suggestions you have of people who could potentially be influential in bringing an event to the city are always welcome. We would like to chat to as many of you as we can and gather your thoughts on what you would like to get from the Ambassador Programme – where can we add value to ensure the Programme meets your needs? Therefore, my colleague Lesley Williams and I will be calling you over the next few weeks (with tempting offers of lunch) so that we can discuss your ideas! From previous conversations with our Ambassadors, it has been mentioned that it would be useful to have a guide to organising conferences to help with planning, budgeting etc. We are currently compiling this guide so if you have any top tips from your own experience we would be delighted to hear from you. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing you at our Christmas Cocktails event on 9 December.

Ever wondered what’s involved in organising a major international conference? Edinburgh Ambassador, Professor Nick Read, shares his experiences with us. How supportive was ECB? ECB assisted in preparing the bid, Nick commented: “I was very impressed by the support I received and the fact that I only had to deal with the scientific part in the bid, everything else about the city and letters of support were handled by ECB.” ECB rose to the challenge of securing best accommodation allocation rates for delegates, especially as early August is an extremely busy time in Edinburgh’s calendar. The Challenges The event was expected to be held in one location, however the EICC extension would not be ready in time. The solution was to use both the EICC and the nearby Usher Hall. Nick said, “Although you think you have everything covered and are organised well in advance, things do come at you that could not been foreseen.” Nick experienced additional challenges with on going construction that was totally out with his control but by meeting with venues solutions were found.

Legacy The event was a complete success with delegates enjoying their stay in the city. Nick also changed the format of the conference by putting the science at the forefront of the conference, which was favourably received by the international committee, and he highlighted the FUN in fungi! Hot Tips • Sponsorship opportunities to generate additional revenue. • Appoint an experienced PCO who understands your field as well as being effective event managers. • Give delegates the opportunity to network – and enjoy themselves!

Conference Factfile: Delegates – 1,760 Type – International from 83 countries Duration – 6 days Venues – EICC, Usher Hall and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh • Economic benefit – £4 million • • • •

Read the full Case Study at

What’s On?

Below is a selection of conferences taking place over the next few months.

For a full list please refer to the Conference Calendar under the membership section on our website

With best wishes,

Month Event Dec Concepts of Epidemiology Drug Delivery to the Lungs 21 (DDL21)

Venue University of Edinburgh EICC



Renewable UK: Health & Safety 2011

Edinburgh Corn Exchange

Ambassador Programme Manager


British Association of Spinal Surgeons 2011 The Gathering – Scotland’s Voluntary Sector Fair British Council of Shopping Centres

Dynamic Earth


National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) Model United Nations Conference – MUN

EICC George Watson’s College


7th Photovoltaic Science Applications and Technology Conference Nitro Europe Final Science Conference

Heriot-Watt University

Anyone who contributes to the following questions will be entered in to a prize draw and could win a case of wine. Can you recommend a new Ambassador who may be interested in bringing a conference to Edinburgh? What conferences have you attended recently and are there any we could attract to Edinburgh? Suggestions for future features in the Newsletter? Prize draw responses to:



Edinburgh Convention Bureau Ltd

29 Drumsheugh Gardens Edinburgh EH3 7RN Tel: 0131 473 3666 Fax: 0131 473 3878 Follow us on Twitter – @conventions and @edinambassador

Issue 23 | Autumn 2010 Design by Photographs and images supplied by ECB, Edinburgh Brand, Simon Williams Photography and featured venues.

The Ambassador - Issue 23  

Highlights: Ambassador Events at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Gosford House Spotlight on: Edinburgh BioQuarter Venues Great and S...

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