National events strategy review: consultation analysis

Independent analysis of responses to the public consultation supporting the review of the national events strategy (Scotland The Perfect Stage).

1. Introduction and Background

This report provides an independent analysis of responses to the National Events Strategy Consultation. It sets out views and perspectives offered by respondents on the vision and strategic objectives outlined in the existing strategy ‘Scotland: The Perfect Stage’.[1]

1.1 Background

Scotland: The Perfect Stage was first published in 2008 in response to Scotland’s burgeoning potential to be a global leader in the events industry. It was last reviewed and updated to cover the period 2015-2025. Its vision is that Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events is recognised nationally and internationally. Although Scotland has had many successes under the current strategy, the event sector has recently endured a period of unprecedented disruption. This presents several challenges and potential opportunities for the sector in Scotland which is set out in ‘A Changing Context’ document produced as part of the consultation paper. As the term of the current strategy nears conclusion, Scottish Government committed to supporting another review and update of ‘Scotland: the perfect stage’. Discussions in December 2022 with industry, trade union, local authority and public sector representatives informed the design of consultation exercise with discussions considered themes of business and economy, skilled workforce and Fair Work, environmental sustainability, community and wellbeing.

1.2 Consultation

On the 24th March 2023, the Scottish Government launched a 14-week public consultation to seek views on the National Events Strategy. The consultation questions which are provided in Appendix 1. The consultation sought views on:

  • The ambition and priorities for events and the event sector in Scotland
  • The accessibility of events
  • What it is like to work in events
  • How events in Scotland can continue to collaborate and innovate
  • How events can promote cities, regions and Scotland as a whole internationally.

This survey was aimed at:

  • people who attend or would like to attend events in Scotland, people living in communities where events are held, and groups who represent them
  • organisations and people working in and with the Scottish event industry, across the public, private and third sectors
  • People and organisations from outside of Scotland were also encouraged to provide a response to share their experiences of Scottish events and working with the Scottish events sector, and the approaches that the private, public and third sectors take to events in other countries.

1.2.1 Regional Engagement Workshops

A series of regional workshops were also hosted between April and June 2023 to which 187 participants attended (Table 1.1 below). Notes from these workshops were taken by VisitScotland staff and provided to our research team for analysis.

Table 1.1 Overview of regional workshops
Location Date Attendance
Aberdeen 21st April 2023 16
Dumfries 27th April 2023 9
Edinburgh 2nd May 2023 32
Dundee 4th May 2023 21
Inverness 9th May 2023 22
Orkney 16th May 2023 12
Oban 24th May 2023 9
Glasgow 1st June 2023 45
Galashiels 7th June 2023 21
Total 187

In addition to the regional workshop sessions, an Event Industry Sector workshop

was hosted virtually on the 22nd June 2023 with 35 participants. A member of our research team also attended this event to observe the discussion.

1.3 Definition of an Event

For the purpose of the current national events strategy, events are public-facing events and festivals which anyone can attend either for free or by buying a ticket, or by viewing it on television or digitally. In addition, the strategy includes ‘business events’. These business events are for designated groups which the general public cannot access. Examples of business events include corporate meetings, product launches, exhibitions and conventions, and incentive travel. The strategy does not cover family or personal events such as weddings, funerals and birthday parties. Events can be:

  • Fixed – happening each year or more regularly in the same place permanently
  • Recurring – happening each year in the same place for a set number of years, often on a biennial or quadrennial basis
  • One-off – usually bid for and brought in a single staging.

Events also vary widely in size, from local and community events all the way up to mega events hosted across borders.

UK Sport use the following indicators in deciding what is a mega sporting event. Refence in the context of this consultation is intended to give an indication of the scale and nature of events classified as 'mega'. An event need not necessarily fulfil all criteria to be considered a mega event

  • Event represents the pinnacle of the sport at World or European level
  • Event is itinerant – i.e., not considered as permanently resident in theUK
  • Event is likely to have a staging cost more than £10 million
  • Event is likely to attract more than 100,000 spectators
  • Event may require partial or full underwriting by the public sector
  • Event may require government guarantees
  • Event may entail significant delivery complexity.

Further detail on mega events and the framework being trialled by the Scottish Government to help understand how well a mega event might align to strategic aims in Scotland can be accessed via the National events strategy review consultation paper.



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