National events strategy review: consultation

Scotland's National events strategy is being reviewed and updated. This will extend its term to the end of 2035. This survey provides everyone with a role in Scotland’s world-class event industry the chance to shape the sector’s updated strategy.

6. Promotion and Profile

6.1 Brand Scotland

Scotland's international reputation has improved in culture, tourism and overall since 2014. Internationally, people think of Scotland as a fascinating, exciting and relaxing place to visit.

With fierce global competition and limited budgets, it pays to present our country's image, values and story consistently – domestically and internationally. With this in mind, Scotland has a single nation brand and associated nation brand strategy: Brand Scotland. Its vision is for Scotland to be recognised as a leading global citizen and a dynamic, fair and inclusive country in which to live, work, study, visit, trade and invest.

6.2 Promotion through events

Since 2014, Scotland has developed its experience of delivering world-class events of all sizes and types, and regularly successfully hosted events of high international profile. As well as helping Scotland secure more of these high profile events, Themed Groups said that this reputation encourages their peers in other countries to approach them for advice and guidance.

Major events can enhance the reputation of Scotland's cities and communities internationally, and build a sense of pride and confidence at a national level. Promoting Scotland's place in this way can also be used to promote our other assets. These include our natural environment, culture and heritage, diversity, food and drink, strong TV and film locations, history, sport and education. Events of different types and sizes can also generate profile for different sectors or regions. In this way, all kind of events make a significant contribution to tourism and local economies across the whole of Scotland.

Beyond this, large-scale events provide a platform for Scotland to 'live our values on the world stage', in line with Scotland's Global Affairs Framework. They have the potential to be one of the most powerful nation branding vehicles we have – an opportunity to tell a unified brand story. That story would both showcase our country and challenge perceptions internationally, and reinforce our values, with authenticity, at home.

There are already assets that promote festivals and events across Scotland to audiences. Promoting events is a way to attract people to work in the sector or to attend and feel the wellbeing benefits of events. Themed Groups felt there was more the sector could do to communicate what it is doing to become more environmentally sustainable, and to promote Scottish events as a place to work. They also identified the potential of events as a platform for influencing behaviours. This included making more sustainable choices, for example, promotion of active travel through the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

Question 22: In what way do you think events can promote Scotland internationally?

6.3 Mega events

Mega events are a unique type of event that are only available to Scotland when there is strong partnership working. In the UK, the following indicators are considered in deciding what is a mega event. 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 the UK
  • 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

Following on from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the current strategy supported Scotland in attracting and delivering a number of these large one-off events, including the 2018 European Championships, COP26 in 2021, and the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. This is alongside a programme of high profile, international fixed events hosted each year, such as the Edinburgh Festivals.

The Scottish Government is trialling a framework to help understand how well a mega event might align to strategic aims in Scotland and inform decision-making. That framework looks at the event's size, scale and type, putting it in the context of other mega events that may be planned for Scotland. It assesses the event's potential across Profile, Innovation, Legacy, Economy, Participation and Sustainability with the aim of delivering a balance of these over time.

The trial alignment framework is a honeycomb hexagon which is split by context and viability. Context includes; sustainability, legacy, and Profile Viability includes; participation), Economy, and innovation.

This approach draws on the eventIMPACTS Toolkit and informs any business case for government investment based on the 5 case business case model. Where investment is made, it then informs detailed development of event policy priorities, legacy strategy, delivery plans, and ongoing assurance.

Question 23: What specific aims would you prioritise for mega events?



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