Thoughts from Amanda Ferguson, Head of Business Tourism at Marketing Edinburgh
Conferences are an educational platform for knowledge-sharing, networking and learning best practice; and Edinburgh knows a thing or two about Education!
Education has long been at the heart of Edinburgh. In the 19th century the great thinkers, philosophers and scientists from across Europe gathered in the Scottish capital, meeting in the drawing rooms and libraries of fine houses, in the numerous colleges popping up across the city and the University of Edinburgh, eager for verbal jousting, debate and discussion. Hot topics ranged from philosophical truths and economic theory to new medical treatments and scientific discovery. We were in the throes of the (first) industrial revolution with promises of wealth and improved quality of life. The Scots were early to identify that education held the key to this economic development and prosperity.
Fast forward to 2018 and the modern day enlightenment. We have ‘leapfrogged’ through the third industrial revolution (digitalization!) and are on the cusp of the fourth with Artificial Intelligence redefining how we do things, and changing the workplace. The great and the good still gather in Edinburgh to share ideas and learn from each other. Our universities have swelled to four highly regarded global institutions, boasting 100,000+ students from 150 nations and a vast web of researchers reaching into every corner of the globe. Business events lie at the heart of this global knowledge share. No longer meeting in private drawing rooms, experts gather in the Pentland Auditorium at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, present new discoveries in the newly refurbished McEwan Hall and demonstrate the latest techniques to peers in smart hotel meeting rooms.
Education is a key driver of business events which annually bring in an estimated £300m per annum to Edinburgh in direct economic impact. Arguably, more important is however the indirect economic impact that can result from hosting experts in a particular field at a conference in the city. Business events serve as a showcase, a shop window if you like, of the capital’s economic credentials which can act as a catalyst for inward investment discussions.
It is rather fitting then that we are celebrating Edinburgh’s booming education sector this week. Keep an eye out on social media for #IdeasBecomeLegend and #MakeItEdinburgh to see how far-reaching our education sector really is and how you can Make It Edinburgh for your next event.