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'The eyes of the world will be on us in 2014' says EventScotland COO Paul Bush

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By Gillian West | Social media manager

August 12, 2013 | 5 min read

“Next year Scotland will probably have more events of stature than anywhere else, the eyes of the world will be on us from Hogmanay at the start of the year right the way through to Hogmanay at the end of 2014,” remarked Paul Bush, chief operating officer of EventScotland ahead of an event-packed year for Scotland.

Speaking to The Drum, Bush described the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup as “a catalyst that you can draw upon for the future” and that despite the honour of hosting these events next year Scotland’s event industry “shouldn’t underestimate what it achieves on an on-going basis annually” as “most countries would probably give their right arm to have the Edinburgh Festivals, T in the Park and Hogmanay, to name but a few.”

The “cream on the cake” of the Scottish events calendar next year is without a doubt the Commonwealth Games which recently kicked off its ‘One year to go’ campaign. Following in the aftermath of a successful Olympic Games in London over 50,000 people applied for volunteer spots at next year’s Games, something which Bush calls “amazing” and explains that his vision is to “ensure all of these people are not one-off volunteers and that they are enticed to participate in major events or community events post-2014,” adding that the main thing the Games can do for Scotland’s events sector is to “build capacity, capability and expertise within Scotland, leaving the country in a better position and better condition to take things forward.”

Of the boost both the Ryder Cup and the Commonwealth Games will bring for the country Bush explains that “event tourism is one of the most sustainable economic drivers for any country, both events have very different demographic markets.

“For the Commonwealth Games the 71 Commonwealth countries will be targeted by the organising committee…whereas for the Ryder Cup there will be more focus on Europe and North America.”

On top of both of these major events and Scotland’s usual roster, the country is also gearing up for its second Homecoming year, dedicated to celebrating Scottish heritage and encouraging ex-pats to return. Deemed a success in 2009, five years on another round of “signature events” will mark the second Homecoming year with a number of which due to be “announced throughout the next few weeks and months.”

As London celebrates its one-year anniversary of hosting the Olympic Games much focus is placed on how the country can sustain the legacy of the competition. Asked how Scotland can ensure the Commonwealth Games lives on post-2014, Bush comments: “I don’t use the word legacy personally, I use the word sustainability. Simply because I think it’s very important, and legacy is an overused word in my book, it’s really all about ensuring we can provide sustainability to events and we bring in long-term economic developments which benefit the country.”

Looking ahead Bush reflects upon the last 10-15 years of Scottish events: “We’ve seen a huge growth in Scotland as a nation in terms of its delivery, and if you look forward past 2014, we have five major sporting events in the calendar after 2014/2015 – if you’d have thought that 10 years ago you’d have said ‘don’t be daft’, but now we have scalable events coming in to Scotland and throughout the length and breadth of the country.

“We’re getting slicker, we’ve always had a great track record and EventScotland is just part of the jigsaw…we’re in the process of reviewing our ‘Scotland: The perfect stage’ strategy which will give us an insight into how things will go post-2014. We’ll be consulting widely across the nation as to how that should look and in times of austerity that make take a different shape but I still feel really confident that Scotland will continue to punch above its weight in 2015-2025.”

EventScotland will be sponsor of the Scottish Event Awards for the second year running. The event takes place on 26 September 2013 The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow.

Also sponsoring the event will be Freshwater and Bauer Media Scotland.

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