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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 18/12/2020

As we all try to navigate through what’s to come, it’s clear the future events landscape will be very different but the process to define and design is established and helps us look to brighter days.

Just last week, when the first COVID vaccine jabs were administered, Host City (8 and 9 Dec), supported by EventScotland  and Glasgow Life, attracted more than 1,000 delegates who tuned in to listen to 100-plus fascinating speakers  discuss the event  theme - “The Big Restart”, with panels over two days assessing how event stakeholders can bring about “Recovery with a Purpose for the Digital Age”. Many exchanged views about tackling the COVID challenges, but also how they’ve used the unprecedented pause in event staging to rethink future business models and strategies. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel with the welcome news of the start of a vaccine rollout here in the UK. While this critical work takes place, we will remain focused on ensuring the survival of event businesses ahead of the restart in 2021 and a clear route map for their return. And while the focus in the short term will be the reintroduction of events catering for communities and our domestic audiences, we have a busy calendar of future major international events scheduled in the coming years.  

In 2021, Scotland is set to continue celebrating its Year of Coasts and Waters, be one of 12 host nations of UEFA EURO 2020, host to COP26, the inaugural A3 conference and Countdown, produced by TED. 2022 will see Festival UK* 2022 activity come to fruition along with a celebration of Scotland’s Stories, while 2023 sees the ground-breaking UCI Cycling World Championships held in Glasgow and across the Scotland. Our golf programme is also stronger than ever with three AIG Women’s Opens from 2021-2024, while The Open is also scheduled twice in that period including The 150th Open at St Andrews in 2022 and at Royal Troon in 2024. 

This programme of events, together with the recovery plans being put in place for our events industry reinforces the key role events play in the social fabric of the country. There is no doubt that  changing consumer behaviour will likely open up new opportunities related to environment, travel and sustainability while the pandemic has also coincided with global movements on equality and diversity across society. Few industries have the impact that events do, not just on the economy but on health and wellbeing, national morale and the ability to bring people and communities together. Their survival will be a key part of Scotland’s recovery from COVID-19.