During a year in which all eyes are on Scotland because of its upcoming independence referendum, it’s worth remembering that 2014 is an important year for Scotland’s meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) market as well.
On the sporting side, Scotland is hosting the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer, as well as welcoming the return of the 40th Ryder Cup golf tournament to the five-star, 850-acre Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, where the U.S.-versus-U.K. tournament began in 1921.
This is also the first full year in operation for two very important upgrades to Scotland’s two major conference venues. In Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) unveiled a major expansion last May, nearly doubling its size with the addition of the 21,500-square-foot Lennox Suite, which features a groundbreaking 17,200-square-foot divisible hall with a moving floor that can transform from a flat banquet space to either a tiered theater (for up to 2,000) or an arena with cutting-edge A/V equipment. There is also a large glass atrium, and new breakout rooms.
In Glasgow, the long-awaited opening of the SSE Hydro arena, on the grounds of the Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre (SECC) campus took place in September 2013. With so many major concerts in Glasgow, booking the convention center’s largest exhibition space, additional event space has been in high demand.
In addition, VisitScotland’s Conference Bid Fund has been able to help local tourism authorities attract smaller meetings and events to areas like Perth, Stornoway, and Shetland.