2014 has been huge for events in Scotland. From the spirit of the Commonwealth Games to the successful Ryder Cup, it’s clear this year will be a hard act to follow.
With 2014 proving to be one of Scotland's most important years in decades, both politically and culturally, The Drum speaks to EventScotland COO Paul Bush to find out what the organisation has learned along the way and how Scotland can capitalise on the legacy of this year’s events.
How can 2015 compare with this year in Scotland?
2015 is shaping up to be another huge year for the Scottish events industry. We are acutely aware of the need to sustain the number of major events Scotland hosts and we have been working hard with our partners to ensure that this continues into 2015. Next year Scotland will host three World Championships (Gymnastics, IPC Swimming, Orienteering) and two European Championships (Judo, Eventing).
We will also welcome back The Open and the Women's British Open as well as the first ever presentation of the Turner Prize in Scotland. We are a forward looking organisation and we have already secured the European Swimming Championships for 2018 and Euro 2020 matches. We are currently in bids and negotiations for events through to 2020.
Has 2014 been the most successful year yet for Scotland in terms of revenue driving from major events?
We won't know for sure until the end of the year but it does look like 2014 will deliver the largest economic impact we have ever seen from major events, with the Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and the MTV EMA all taking place within the space of five months.
What lessons have been learned and what difficulties has the organisation faced along the way this year?
This year we have had to build on our capacity, capability and sustainability of our industry and the marketplace. We must work hard to ensure that we retain the knowledge and experience we have built up in our workforce this year and re-invest it into future events.
How does the organisation go into next year – what will be the highlights and what needs to be considered to make sure it is another successful year?
We go into next year full of confidence from 2014. We have not only hosted some of the biggest events in the world, but we have delivered them with excellence. The Commonwealth Games was described as the "best ever" by the head of the CGF and golfing legend Butch Harmon said that Gleneagles was the "best organised" of the nine Ryder Cups he has been to. Next year sees us host a number of major one-off events, which will give us so many highlights throughout the year. We are currently reviewing our national events strategy Scotland: The Perfect Stage which will reinforce our future ambitions for events industry which will be released early 2015.
How many people are currently employed within the events sector and how much does it generate for the economy – how has that increased this year?
The last full study of the industry in 2008 suggested its value at £1.5bn, though following several years of growth, in particular in the number of major events Scotland hosts it is thought that value will have increased considerably. Events play a significant role in delivering economic impacts for Scotland and generating jobs – for example the Edinburgh festivals contribute £260m every year.
How will next year's calendar be marketed?
Next year we will celebrate the Scotland's year of food and drink, which will showcase the best of the country's produce. We will be working hard to integrate the programme into our events portfolio and people can look forward to an exciting array of culinary delights at not only foodie festivals but across events all over Scotland.
How healthy is the events business right now and how important is it to the country's future development and economic outlook?
The events industry in Scotland has never been in a better position. We are now among the global elite in terms of major event destinations and our national events portfolio continues to go from strength to strength. Events will continue to play an ever-increasing part in the economic outlook of Scotland, with events now established as a cornerstone of our international and domestic tourism industries. 2014 will act as a platform and a catalyst for the future and the industry is in the perfect shape to react.
EventScotland sponsors The Scottish Event Awards, taking place on Wednesday 8 October in Glasgow.