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The new £207m Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will add to Scotland's portfolio of outstanding business tourism venues.

With the announcement this month that Scottish Enterprise is to contribute £10 million towards the construction of a new £207 million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), the city and shire can look forward to hosting more major industry and consumer events, as well as attracting top West End shows and global music stars.

The AECC, which over the next ten years is expected to bring in an additional 4.5 million visitors, spending an estimated £113 million, is expected to add £63 million net GVA to the Scottish economy. More importantly, it will allow Aberdeen to compete on the world stage when it comes to attracting major events and conferences.

Taking centre stage

The new and improved venue will offer space and versatility, reducing turnaround time for events, enhance the customer experience and increase the venue’s marketability and profitability. With the AECC set up, both commercially and technically, to host the biggest and best touring events, it will also boost Aberdeen City Council’s broader plans to market the city and shire as a destination for weekend visitors.

The new centre will:

  • Provide four times the current exhibition space
  • Double the seated entertainment area to 10,000 
  • Secure an additional 31,000 business tourists to Scotland
  • Lead to an additional £11 million visitor spend per annum
  • Elevate Aberdeen into the top 5 global competitor energy cities for conferences and exhibitions

Along with the SSE Hydro, in Glasgow, and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the new AECC will add to Scotland’s growing portfolio of outstanding business tourism venues.

Attracting investment

The centre will act as a beacon for the city and the region, helping to leverage further inward investment to the area.

The construction phase of the AECC is also expected to help boost the local construction industry.

The centre represents part of a significant strategic programme of investment in transport infrastructure, housing and business space planned for the city region.

Leader of Aberdeen City Council, Cllr Jenny Laing, said:

“We want to make sure we build on Aberdeen’s reputation as one of the most dynamic places in Europe to do business. Aberdeen is a growth generator not just for the North East of Scotland but the UK as a whole.”

With plans for the new AECC now well underway, a global marketing campaign will be launched, to attract the first high-profile international conferences, exhibitions and events to the venue.

Maximising ambition

Welcoming the development, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, said:

“As the energy capital of Europe and a global centre for expertise in technology, the Scottish Government is keen to promote Aberdeen as a focus for international investment and events. This new investment in the AECC will provide world-class facilities that will service Aberdeen city and shire, and Scotland, for years to come.

“This new facility will provide a valuable asset, significantly strengthening the capacity to attract international conferences to the city.

“Through investment like this we can ensure Scotland maintains its position, as evidenced by the recent Ernst and Young survey*, as the most successful part of the UK outside London in attracting foreign direct investment – punching well above our weight in an increasingly competitive global market.”

Big spin-offs for city

By attracting a wider programme of national and international events, Europe’s oil and gas capital will use the AECC to grow its existing business and leisure tourism markets, increasing visitor spending across the city and shire.

The added business the venue will attract will feed into the city and regional economy, increasing hotel occupancy, boosting spending in local shops, bars and restaurants which, in turn, will create new and improved local job opportunities.

In the wider region, weekend visitors are expected to take time to explore Aberdeenshire’s many inland, coastal and outdoor leisure activities, bringing a further financial and jobs boost to the wider rural economy.

Come and join us

If you want to be part of Aberdeen’s continuing success story, get in touch to see how we can make that happen.

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* Ernst and Young 2015 Scotland attractiveness survey