Can aligning its core business strategy with local centres of excellence enhance a destination’s reputation? Most definitely yes, says Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau business events manager Karen Tocher.
With Toronto topping the table as Canada’s leading conference destination, the north-eastern city of Quebec has recently been looking to revitalise its position. One of Canada’s event destinations top ten, the city has refocused on its strengths, and the results are paying off.
As a thriving academic and industry hub for life sciences and health technologies, Quebec is repositioning itself as a global leader in the sector. And, coming out of the pandemic, this shift has also made good business sense. The city’s 2022-2025 conference diary currently has no less than 24 life sciences events – both national and international - which is more than 40% of their total convention bookings.
This concerted effort to refocus on its strengths is now set to be worth an extra $21.2m in associated income and investment for the city. But it is not just the financial reward. By aligning its business strategy with its centres of excellence, Quebec also stands to benefit from the opportunity to showcase what it has to offer in terms of specific knowledge and innovation.
In its latest Events Report, the Business Visits and Events Partnership has also highlighted the role event destinations have to play in revitalising the UK’s own position on the global stage, post-Brexit and pandemic. This means that, as we tentatively emerge from the physical and geographical constraints of Covid, playing to our individual and collective strengths should form a crucial part of any region’s business event strategy.
The Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perthshire region, in particular, is ideally placed to emulate the success of Quebec. We have four world-class academic institutes alongside other globally recognised organisations such as NHS Tayside and The James Hutton Institute and a track record of innovation and excellence with a strong reputation for life sciences, health innovation, and biotech.
Dundee and its wider region are also one of Scotland’s leading business events areas, meaning we have access to some of the best industry as well as academic and research experts across the fields of health and care, eco innovation, creative industries, digital innovation, Biomed innovation, food and drink, engineering and manufacturing, technology, energy, life sciences, marine, construction, space, sustainability and culture and tourism.
Central to our approach when it comes to positioning the region is the DACB Pathfinders initiative. Pathfinders taps into our academics and industry experts' individual and collective knowledge to drive forward the region’s conference and meeting programme.
By working closely with these experts and academic hubs, the Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau has also been able to enhance the region’s event destination reputation.
With the region’s business event sector worth £72m in direct economic benefit in 2019, we have now set ourselves a target to grow this sector by 5% year on year. And at the heart of this ambitious strategy lies the region’s hard-earned local, national, and international reputation.
From Dundee’s growing status as one of the leading centres for cyber security to our key role in the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), our Pathfinders continue to effectively shine a light on what the region of Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perthshire has to offer.
In turn, this also highlights the region to potential students and the next generation of inspired thinkers and innovators, bringing further academic, as well as financial, investment into the area.
And it is here that the long-term legacy of the region’s reputation as a meetings and conventions centre of excellence ultimately lies.