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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 31/03/2023

Last week, colleagues from our Event Industry Development team welcomed a delegation of event organisers to Scotland as part of Tourism Northern Ireland’s Delivering Sustainable Events learning journey.

There were representatives from organisations responsible for some of the biggest events in Northern Ireland and those that hold key roles in the delivery of events across the region. These representatives met with counterparts from across Scotland’s events industry. Over two days there was discussion on a range of sustainability impact areas, as well as share knowledge and best practice.

Among the Scottish industry representatives that the group met were Mark Currie, Operations Director for the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (Royal Highland Show) and Fiona Ellis, Business Manager for DF Concerts.

We all face challenges and opportunities around sustainability, particularly in relation to environmental impacts. Meeting with colleagues from Northern Ireland provided a welcome opportunity to discuss our respective approaches and priorities, plus share some of the knowledge we’ve been gathering along the way.

Mark Currie, Operations Director for the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (Royal Highland Show)

At DF Concerts, we recognise our responsibility in relation to sustainability and are already working hard to develop our activity accordingly. Events are all at different stages in their transition to net zero, meeting with the group from Northern Ireland allowed us to share some of our experience whist also learning from theirs.

Fiona Ellis, Business Manager for DF Concerts

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Tourism Northern Ireland’s Events Development Manager, Siobhan McGuigan, was responsible for commissioning the trip. The purpose was to help inform awareness and practice across the wider sector in Northern Ireland and create a collective industry group of sustainability advocates.

Sustainability is a huge priority for us here in Northern Ireland, not least for our events industry which faces many similar challenges as our counterparts in Scotland. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of those with whom we met in sharing learnings and knowledge. Our few days in Edinburgh and Glasgow were enlightening and hugely enjoyable. The group came away really inspired, full of ideas, and keen to continue the momentum that this learning journey helped to ignite.

Siobhan McGuigan, Events Development Manager, Tourism Northern Ireland

Supporting the visit were colleagues from our Event Industry Development team, who play a key role in our engagement and support for the industry.

We were delighted to welcome industry colleagues from Northern Ireland last week. Sustainability is at the top of everyone’s agenda and we are all on a learning journey. It was a fascinating few days, with a good exchange of views and some excellent practical advice being shared. My thanks to all the Scotland-based event representatives who met with the group and so generously shared their experience and insight.

Torquil Macleod, Senior Event Industry Development and Engagement Manager, VisitScotland

The Scottish event industry organisations represented were:

  • Festivals Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society
  • Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • World Pipe Band Championships
  • Celtic Connections
  • Glasgow Life
  • 2023 Cycling World Championships
  • 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships
  • DF Concerts


The Northern Ireland events industry included event organisers from:

  • Stendhal
  • Belfast Tradfest
  • Bluegrass Festival
  • Festival of Fools
  • NI Science Festival


There were also representatives from local authorities and Belfast Festivals Forum. 

The visit was designed and delivered by Kathy Hayes and Lesley Maltman of The Eventor Ltd. 

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