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Edinburgh’s EICC posts profit as it seeks growth outside Europe

Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has posted record financial results for 2018 as managers, wary of a Brexit downturn, target growth opportunities outside Europe.

Association business continued to grow at the venue, which posted an operating profit of £1.4 million on sales of £11.8 million, and now stands at 60 per cent of turnover.

However the biggest area of growth was seen in international corporate business – up 161 per cent – with significant successes in both the financial and technology sectors.

While European association business was up on 2017 the venue, bolstered by a bigger sales team, has developed revenue streams outside Europe, including in North America and China.

CEO Marshall Dallas said: “We have invested heavily in the sales team over the last couple of years and this is now paying dividends.  While UK and European association conferences remain integral for EICC, we’ve increased our activities outside Europe, which we believe to be a prudent measure in the face of the uncertainties surrounding Brexit. “

Highlights of 2018 included Michelle Obama speaking at the EICC in July; the World Youth and Student Travel Conference in September, the Linux Foundation’s EU Open Source Summit in October; and the European Orthodontics Society conference, last June.

Looking ahead the EICC team is preparing for the 2019 TEDSummit, in July, which is set to attract more than a thousand guests from across the world, who will contribute £5 million to the economy.

Dallas said: “Winning the 2019 TEDSummit was a big coup for the EICC and the city.  It demonstrated that collaboration between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and various city partners can achieve really successful outcomes, which was particularly evident having secured the event against strong competition.”

EICC is owned by Edinburgh City Council, which last month cut £300,000 from the annual budget of Marketing Edinburgh, the body that runs the city’s convention bureau Convention Edinburgh.

Said Dallas: “It’s important that the city has a convention bureau that meets the agreed aims and requirements of its partners for both national and international business. At the same time, the ongoing process and review provides an opportunity to rethink how the bureau operates going forward and the collective hope is that it will become an even more effective organisation in the future.”