TWO of Scotland’s biggest events destinations have hailed the return of major international conferences following 18 barren months stemming from the pandemic.
The Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow hailed a “key milestone” yesterday as it opened the doors for its first post-lockdown conference.
The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) is hosting events dedicated to photonics, vacuum-enabled techniques and satellite systems and takes place at the venue over three days until tomorrow (September 30). It comes shortly before the eyes of the world will be on the SEC when it is one of the host venues for COP26 in November.
The event at the SEC opened as the venue’s counterpart across the country, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, hailed a “return in confidence” in business travel in the events industry.
The comments from chief executive Marshall Dallas on the back of a string of UK and international conference wins for the EICC for 2022 and 2023.
Kathleen Warden, director of conference sales at the SEC, said: “Today is a big moment for us. The pandemic has brought the importance of in person interaction into sharp focus over the last 18 months, and we couldn’t be happier to be able to facilitate both the SPIE conference and the upcoming programme of conferences we have at the SEC.
“There is just no substitute for having people working with and learning from each other in the one space, and we’re delighted to play our part in that.”
The EICC announced yesterday that the 6th International Symposium on Paediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease will take place at the venue in September 2022, when it is expected that around 600 delegates will attend. The following month it will hold the Society for Melanoma Research International Conference, which is expected to attract an audience of 1,200 delegates.
Trade union UNISON will also be holding a series of events at the EICC between February 2022 and October 2023. The UNISON women’s conference takes place in February, before the union’s LGBT+ conference is held in November next year, and the black members’ conference in January. UNISON’s retired members’, police and justice, and disabled members’ conferences are all taking place in October 2023.
Mr Dallas said: “It’s great to see a number of major national and international conferences set to take place, and what’s notable is the definite feeling of a return of confidence in business travel across the events industry as a whole.
“That has been reflected in the many conversations our team has been having with conference organisers worldwide, the conferences we are announcing today, and further conference wins we have in the pipeline.”
The latest wins secured by the EICC come shortly after it held its first ‘in-person’ events since the pandemic started.
Earlier this month, the venue held the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine’s annual conference, while during August 14 shows were held at the EICC as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Other forthcoming events at the destination include the TED Countdown Summit in October, and tech sector festival Turing Fest in November.