Edinburgh needs exhibition centre, says city councillor
by Annie Byrne
The City of Edinburgh Council has increased calls for a dedicated international exhibition centre, as recent figures Edinburgh Convention Bureau shows increased international interest in the city.The number of conferences and exhibitions secured in the 12 months to March increased by 57 year-on-year, contributing to a total of 52,000 delegates and a boost to the city economy of £700,000 on the figure for the previous financial year. According to Edinburgh Council’s convenor of the economic development committee, Cllr Tom Buchanan, the capital city is weathering the economic downturn better than expected.“The fact that business tourism has continued to prosper in these difficult times is testament to the endeavours of everyone in the business, academic and investment communities,” says Buchanan, who was instrumental in setting up the Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance (DEMA) to harness the efforts of all parties able to bring business and talent to the city.And the councillor now believes time is right for a new international exhibition centre to accompany the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. “As a sign of our ambitions, the expansion of the EICC, and the improvement in its facilities, will allow it to accommodate all but the largest events held in Europe. We are also discussing proposals for a new 6,000 plus seat venue in the west of the city. The proposed development consists of two elements, an expansion of the existing EICC conference facilities and an independent office development, which will in time recoup funds for the EICC expansion. Both projects are likely to generate a construction cost in excess of £80 million, a significant investment for the Edinburgh economy.