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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 28/11/2023

Moving back to Scotland, meeting sector colleagues, gearing up for her first Edinburgh Hogmanay in a decade, and a focus on Scotland’s National Events Strategy.

These are just a few of the priorities which Rebecca Edser has been focusing on in her first two months as Head of EventScotland.

We caught up with her on the back of the recent Host City conference in Glasgow. We explore how she’s settling in, what her priorities are for 2024, and how it feels to be back home in Scotland.

Woman standing at the edge of a curling sheet

Rebecca Edser, Head of EventScotland, at Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2023, Aberdeen.

What did you do before joining EventScotland?

I worked for UK Sport for almost 14 years as part of the major events team, helping to deliver the major events legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as supporting the UK’s mega event ambitions.

I joined the organisation in 2009 just as the focus on the London 2012 legacy was emerging and so was lucky enough to not only support sports in the run up to the games but to see how the UK’s skills and experience in event delivery grew in the years after.

I also completed a number of secondments while at UK Sport – for London 2012, DMCS (Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport) and most recently the Greater London Authority

It was great to lead their work around sports events, to step outside the Olympic and paralympic world and work with organisations like the NFL and MLB.

Temporary structure in city for an event

The 2014 Commonwealth Games logo in George Square (credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam)

Career highlight to date?

This is such a hard question as I’m lucky to have worked on a number of amazing events over the years!

For me the highlight is seeing people enjoy an event, knowing that you played a part in making that experience happen.

How does it feel to be back in Scotland?

It’s been brilliant to start meeting with the wider sector in Scotland and hear about their plans and activities. I’m looking forward to continuing to meet with people over the coming months.

This year will be my first Edinburgh Hogmanay for a decade which I’m really looking forward to!

Fireworks over a city at night

Edinburgh's Hogmanay fireworks (credit: Edinburgh's Hogmanay)

What is important to you in your new role?

Scotland has an international reputation as a world leader in event delivery and hosting.

It has an enviable portfolio of cultural and sporting events which draw both domestic and international audiences.

I’m keen to ensure we maintain this reputation through continued collaboration across sectors to deliver responsible and sustainable events which engage local communities and achieve against both national and regional strategic priorities.

Aerial view of a festival site

Aerial view of Stornaway and the site of the HebCelt festival (credit: HebCelt)

Can you tell us a bit more about the national events strategy?

It’s been the perfect time to join as I’ve been able to input into the ongoing work following the public consultation, workshops, and wider engagement of the refresh of the national events strategy.

The update is a strategy for Scotland and so has had contributions from the whole sector which has been incredibly valuable.

A key part of my role is going to be shaping EventScotland to ensure that going forward we’re supporting the delivery of the strategy.

What excites you most about your role?

I’m looking forward to an exciting year of events and getting out there to experience all they have to offer.

But also implementing the strategy and ensuring that EventScotland is well placed for the next 10 years will be a key focus for me.

Quick-fire questions

What’s the best advice you have ever heard?

Treat others like you want to be treated.


What’s keeping you interested on TV at the moment?

Planet Earth III. I’m constantly amazed by the ability of the crews to capture such incredible footage. I’m also a big fan of Shetland and so excited this is back on our screens.


In the spirit of Desert Island Discs, what book, item and song would get you through if you were to be cast away on a desert island?

This is too difficult a question. I’m an avid Desert Island Discs listener which means my list changes every week.


Bucket list holiday destinations – maximum of two!

Orkney is definitely one, as I have some family connections but have never visited, thankfully with the Island Games taking place in 2025 I’m hoping this will be rectified quickly.

My international bucket list is long however I’m going to say Thailand – I did have a holiday booked but cancelled due to COVID and I’ve never quite managed to rearrange it.


Which three famous people would you invite to a dinner party?

Katherine Johnson (mathematician), Usain Bolt, and David Attenborough.

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