A new £2m bid fund has been launched to boost Scotland’s prospects of attracting major international conferences.

The fund will be made available by VisitScotland over the next three years.

It aims to help businesses showcase what Scotland has to offer international delegates, from venues and facilities to food and drink, and world-class golf.

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“The Conference Bid Fund will build the competitiveness of Scotland’s cities and destinations within the international conference market,” said Fergus Ewing, Tourism Minister.

“We join the likes of Hong Kong, Vienna, Vancouver and Washington in supporting our business tourism in this way. The fund will help attract high-yield, high-spend international conferences linked to Scotland’s areas of expertise in industry, commerce or science and medicine.”

Business tourism is worth over £800 million to the Scottish economy, with business visitors spending 1.5 times more than leisure visitors on each night of a stay.

Applications for funding are invited from those hoping to host conferences within the Government’s target sectors, which include aerospace, defence and marine, business processing operations, chemical sciences, creative industries, education, energy, financial services, food and drink, ICT and electronic technology, life sciences, textiles, and tourism.

Consortiums of businesses working in tourism will be eligible to apply for funding, as well as convention bureaus and organisations working in destination management.