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Glasgow’s pioneering conference ambassadors mark 30th anniversary

Glasgow’s Conference Ambassador Programme, the first of its kind in the UK, has contributed at least £650m to the city’s economy since it was founded 30 years ago.

The scheme, which has 1,600 members, supports academics, scientists, healthcare professionals and business people bring international conferences to Glasgow.

Run by Glasgow Convention Bureau, new figures show how valuable it continues to be.

Some 141 conferences – representing 35 per cent of all meetings held in Glasgow last year – were led by a local conference ambassador. Those meetings attracted 56,000 delegates who spent around £75m in the city’s hotels, restaurants and taxis. Roughly £1,340 each.

Since 2005 – the point at which Glasgow Convention Bureau began tracking the economic value of the programme – ambassadors have enticed more than 1,700 conferences to Glasgow worth a staggering £650m.

Aileen Crawford, head of Conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “With the largest academic community in the UK, outside London, it was important for Glasgow Convention Bureau to establish the UK’s first Conference Ambassador Programme thirty years ago to support academic meetings in our city.

We are delighted to be celebrating the 30th anniversary and look forward to another year working in partnership with the city’s Universities and academics, offering support and assistance to maximise the impact of Ambassador led conferences”

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Regius Professor of Medicine, Vice Principal and Head of College at the University of Glasgow, said: “As a Glasgow conference ambassador, I’m proud to attract academic conferences to the city that strengthen the University of Glasgow’s global reputation. In May this year we are hosting the Joint European and International Society of Hypertension at the SEC. This city wide conference will showcase Glasgow as a major international centre of excellence in hypertension.”

Dr Trevor Bushell, Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, said: “Attracting academic conferences to Glasgow is vital to enhancing both the global reputation of the University of Strathclyde as well as the city’s wider research community at large.

“Being the Chair of the British Neuroscience Association’s Host Society Committee and a Glasgow conference ambassador, I’m delighted to be involved in bringing the FENS Forum to Glasgow this year, given that it’s the second largest neuroscience conference in the world, which has been made all the more easier through the excellent support we’ve received from Glasgow Convention Bureau.”

Dr Craig Thomson, Reader in Sustainability and the Built Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “The support provided by Glasgow Convention Bureau through the Glasgow Conference Ambassador Programme has been invaluable in bringing the Association of Researchers in Construction Management’s (ARCOM) 35th annual conference to Glasgow this September, which will see us welcoming academics from around the world to Glasgow Caledonian University for the first time in 20 years.”

2020 looks set to be another busy year for Glasgow’s Conference Ambassador Programme, with the city welcoming a number of major ambassador-led conferences including:

  • The Scientific Meeting of the European and International Society of Hypertension from May 29th to June 1st
  • The Forum of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) from July 11th-15th
  • The Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM) from September 7th-9th