Edinburgh is a beautiful, historic city that combines its heritage with vibrant, modern facilities and first class service, presenting conference organisers with a unique opportunity to host a highly professional and memorable event in an absolutely stunning city.
With world-class hotels and venues, such as the award-winning Edinburgh International Conference Centre, an international airport only eight miles from the city, good road and rail links and a compact city centre with almost everything within walking distance, it's easy to see why Edinburgh has earned its place as the world's most popular UK conference city after London.
And for the social programme, delegates are spoilt for choice. The city enjoys a thriving arts and festivals programme, internationally renowned galleries and museums, underground vaults, royal castles, palaces and even a royal yacht, and is home to the stunning new Scottish Parliament. Surrounded by rolling hills and a fascinating shoreline to the north, the city also has spacious leafy parks and a beautiful botanical garden, and offers almost endless possibilities for taking up new activities or simply relaxing and unwinding.
A 'mature' destination, Edinburgh's successful track record at hosting international conferences gives meeting planners the confidence that suppliers in all the conference sectors will deliver.
Recent conferences and events include the International Routes Conference, the 49th NATO conference and the MTV Europe Music (November 2003). Edinburgh Convention Bureau was responsible for organising the accommodation for the 3000 strong media reporting on this world event.
As well as hosting some of the largest events in the world, the city is also adept at hosting successful conferences and association meetings of all sizes and to suit every budget. The city and surrounding area has a wide range of unusual, historic and world famous venues in which to hold conferences or social events – including elegant stately homes, The Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Museum and historic underground ghostly vaults.
Centre of excellence
Over centuries, Edinburgh has fostered excellence in both science and the arts, helping to develop some of the greatest scientific minds (Charles Darwin, James Young Simpson and Alexander Fleming) and the most creative writers and artists (Robert Burns, R L Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith). Today its four universities continue this tradition of innovation and it’s a global leader in many areas of research and development in medicine, new technologies and the life sciences - now conveniently networked in the Edinburgh Science Triangle - see www.edinburghsciencetriangle.com.
With this illustrious background, Edinburgh has always attracted international meetings which have helped to push the boundaries still further. However, with the support of the Edinburgh Ambassador Programme, which is run by the Edinburgh Convention Bureau, the city has been able to attract many more high profile conferences, by working with leading experts to attract conferences in their field.
In 2005, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh celebrated its Quincentenary year, having been in continuous existence as a corporate body since 1505, making it one of the oldest nd most prestigious surgical corporations in the world. The College and the Edinburgh Convention Bureau worked in partnership to attract over 20 major academic events and celebrations, extending from July 2005 until October 2006, to mark this significant anniversary. The RCSEd continues to look to the future in terms of surgical innovation and excellence and is now also itself a popular venue for conferences and seminars.
Arts and festivals
Europe's festival capital, Edinburgh has a packed programme of events and festivals which take place year round. Kicking off with Hogmanay, the world’s largest New Year festival, followed by the International Science Festival in the spring, the International Film Festival in June, the spectacular summer festivals taking the International, Fringe, Book and Arts festivals in August, then finishing the year with the month-long Capital Christmas which sees an enormous ice rink in Princes Street Gardens, funfairs, street markets and torchlight processions.
With over sixty galleries, five major performing art theatres, a host of wide-ranging visitor attractions, there really is something for everyone in this vibrant city. Visitors can take advantage of the Edinburgh Pass, a European style pass offering for 1, 2, or 3 day free entry to over 30 of the city's most exciting attractions and exclusive offers from some of Edinburgh's top retail and leisure operators, as well as free bus travel in the city.
Edinburgh has more restaurants per head of population than anywhere else in Britain, with everything from African and American, Italian and Indian, Mexican and Mongolian, Thai and Turkish to, of course, traditional and modern Scottish food using the best local produce from Scotland's natural larder – smoked salmon, venison, seafood, cheeses, oatcakes and soft fruits being particularly popular!
Shopping in Edinburgh is a wonderful eclectic experience, which encompasses the magnificent Georgian splendour of the internationally renowned department store, Jenners to the contemporary and stylish Harvey Nichols as well as designer boutiques and curiosity shops tucked away in quiet hidden streets.
Haste ye back!
With such a unique blend of traditional and modern it is not surprising that recent delegate research found that over 60% of delegates who visit the city on business intend to return as a leisure visitor within two or three years. Not only is there always a lot to explore and experience in Edinburgh, it also acts as the gateway to the rest of Scotland's breathtakingly beautiful countryside.