Edinburgh, 29 September 2020
The EICC marks its 25th anniversary this week while reporting record annual results for 2019. Scotland’s leading conference venue, which has hosted President Barack Obama and actor Leonardo di Caprio in recent years, had its best ever year in 2019 and has produced economic impact of over £720 million since opening its doors in September 1995 when its first ever event saw entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer bring Kwik Fit’s Silver Jubilee to the venue to mark his company’s own 25th anniversary.
The EICC’s Atrium and Lennox Suite, which doubled capacity, were opened in 2013, the same year in which the EICC welcomed its millionth delegate. Last year, the EICC hosted TEDSummit when one thousand delegates from around the world gathered in Edinburgh, and to date almost 3,500 events have been held at the EICC with total delegate numbers standing at 1,475, 892. Revenue in the year to 31st December 2019 was £12.6 million (2018: £11.8m), with profits at £1.5 million (2018: £1.4 million).
The EICC has been running online events since lockdown, ahead of a planned return to business events and conferences in 2021 and is set to announce a series of major conference wins later this year. EICC CEO Marshall Dallas said: “2019 was our best ever year, and we came into 2020 with a record number of events on our books before the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to close the venue in March. We continue to take bookings for 2021 and have recently secured a number of major conferences for next year which we will be announcing in the near future. We, of course, remain circumspect about business activity in light of prevailing conditions, however we have focused our efforts on implementing extensive health and wellbeing measures in readiness for safely welcoming delegates back to our venue.”
In May, the EICC launched a new online events platform, Make it Edinburgh Live, which was created to enable the venue team to run conferences and events entirely online or via a combination of online and in situ. In turn, significant investment has been made this year in both technology and related training across the team at the EICC.
Marshall Dallas said: “What has been a hopeful prospect during the pandemic is that we have developed a market-leading online events platform that has enabled us to stage conferences which have a greater global reach for audiences around the world. When we combine this in a hybrid scenario once delegates return to the venue, we believe we’ll have one of the best offerings of any conference centre worldwide.”
Marshall Dallas added: “In so many ways, our 25th anniversary will not be the occasion we envisaged it to be pre the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it’s a significant milestone and an important occasion to appreciate the many achievements to date, as well as our position as one of the world’s leading conference centres. Looking ahead, we know that conferences and business events will be different going forward, characterised by smaller-scale events in the first phase of the recovery.
“We also know that the business events sector, which is valued at around £35 billion across the UK, will be an important driver in helping to reboot the Scottish economy.”
In March, the EICC led an announcement on the go-ahead for a pioneering hotel and hotel school development in Edinburgh. M&G Real Estate is funding the £350 million Haymarket Edinburgh development which will be developed by QMile Group. The completed hotel will be operated by the EICC under a franchise agreement with Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Earlier this month, the EICC appointed Stuart Bone as its new Finance Director. Also in September, CEO Marshall Dallas won the “IoD Scotland Director of the Year - Small to Medium Business” award, with the judging panel stating they were “Impressed with Marshall’s commitment to staff and team development”.
Photos: The EICC is planning for business events and conferences back in the venue in 2021 (by Stewart Attwood)