Glasgow and Edinburgh are to potentially join forces in a bid to try and boost tourism numbers to both cities and Scotland as a whole. Both convention bureaus have cautiously welcomed recent overtures, saying that they feel there could be “clear opportunity” for Edinburgh to work closer with Glasgow, however, neither have directly supported the idea yet. The potential combining of forces is still at the drawing board phase and there is a long way to go to make any potential deal happen.
The outgoing chair of VisitScotland, Dr Mike Cantlay said in recent weeks that combining the two bureaus would be the ‘biggest thin to grow the toruism sector in Scotland.’ He went on to say, “I always look for the biggest hits that make the most profound change. The single biggest transformation, that is creeping day-by-day, is the coming together of Glasgow and Edinburgh…The two cities are getting closer and closer from a tourism perspective. The two cities are totally different, but the transport times are coming down minute by minute. There is now no real distinction between where you stay and what you do between the two cities.”
The Head of Business Tourism, Lesley Williams at Convention Edinburgh went on to say, “As the host cities for the majority of all business tourism events and conferences that take place in Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow have a long history of working together to promote our unique, but complementary offerings. Each city has its own strengths and appeal. For Edinburgh, our world leading reputation in science, finance, culture and history. Regularly voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Edinburgh is also the home of four universities and globally recognised research hubs. We have access to an incredible network of academics and experts through our Edinburgh Ambassador programme, 20 years old this year.”
Lesley added that, “This differentiation means sometimes Edinburgh best fits the brief for conference organisers, sometimes its Glasgow. But crucially we are bringing these international association meetings to Scotland and showcasing what as a wonderful, authentic experience our country can offer delegates. With the current infrastructure improvements underway connecting both cities, there is clear opportunity for us to work closer together to promote Scotland as a world leading business tourism destination, for the benefit of all.”
Glasgow has recently reported the best year for conferences in the city and Edinburgh has at the same time seen conference numbers double from their high of 2014.