Edinburgh: Old meets new

The EICC and RHC showcase their Edinburgh offerings, alongside  centuries of history and a vibrant cosmopolitan city. 

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EICC - Exterior By Night - photo by David Barbour

A city with bustling walkways and hidden alleyways, Edinburgh, like its castle, is a historic fortress, serving as the capital of Scotland.

The city seamlessly blends old and new, with a plethora of iconic buildings and cobbled Georgian streets setting the backdrop for the four universities in Edinburgh.

 

With education a large contributor to the city’s economy, it’s no wonder Edinburgh has strong literary roots, with renowned authors including Robert Louis Stevenson, creator ofThe Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes and Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting.

 

Similarly, the birthplace of actors Sir Sean Connery and Ronnie Corbett, Edinburgh has also helped get Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling on the map, who began her first book in an Edinburgh coffee shop.

 

The city centre offers a region of great history and culture, as well as an exciting fusion of shopping, eateries and architectural splendour, with financial services, scientific research, and tourism all major contributors to Edinburgh’s thriving region.

 

Helping the city come alive, one of the world’s largest arts festivals transforms Scotland’s capital every August. Thousands of performers take to the stages all over the city for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, from big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to start their careers.

 

Celebrating 20 years this year, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has reported its strongest year of trading on record in 2015, noting it has contributed £500m to the local economy since the venue opened in 1995.

 

Counting the likes of the official opening by HM the Queen in 1996 and HRH The Royal Princess’s official opening of the Lennox Suite earlier in 2015 as some of the venue’s highlights over the last 20 years, the business predicts its revenue will increase annually over the next three years.

Under the stewardship of CEO Marshall Dallas, and buoyed by a combination of repeat business and new client wins, the EICC continues to reap the benefits of the 2013 re-development and expansion of the conference centre.

 

“It’s incredible to think that some of the team from 1995 are still at the core of the business in 2015. I think that speaks volumes to the organisation and to all the people who have made the EICC what it is today,” says Dallas.

 

“While we are now widely regarded as one the world’s top conference and event venues, the next 20 years will be about investing in our people and technology to ensure that we remain at the forefront of the industry. All signs point to us heading in the right direction as we enter the next exciting phase of growth.”

 

The multi-purpose Lennox Suite was opened in May 2013, as the key part of a £35m expansion at the EICC, which focused on adding industry-leading technology and functionality.

 

The expanded space features moving floor technology which can be configured to multiple set-ups including banqueting or an arena mode for 1,400 people or a tiered auditorium for 2,000 people.

 

The team at the EICC says the redevelopment has improved the venue’s ability to attract even more international events to Edinburgh. The venue even boasts of quirks including the revolving auditoria in the Pentland Suite, which has a motor the same size as a domestic washing machine.

 

The EICC also takes environmental issues seriously and has created Plan-it green; a sustainable events programme comprising of committed stakeholders throughout the EICC.

 

Initiatives already in place include: Sourcing and purchasing environmentally sensitive products and services locally, whenever possible; purchasing organic fresh and sustainable foods locally grown, whenever possible; energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems, as well as water-saving devices and implementing tools that allow the EICC to continually measure the progress of its environmental operations.

 

Dallas adds: “We would not be where we are without the collaborative relationships with so many partners across the city, a city which has benefited from infrastructure improvements in recent times, where inward investment is on the up, our universities are increasingly world-renowned and we have a burgeoning tech scene."

 

This article was first published in the October issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

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