Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Business tourism debate 1

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing claimed business tourism was on track to be a £1 billion industry, during a government led debate on the business tourism on 21 November 2012.

Business tourism consists of people coming to Scotland for conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs, individual business trips and corporate events.

The industry is estimated to be worth more than £800m to the Scottish economy at the moment.

Mr Ewing told MSPs the Scottish government's Conference Bid Fund expects to generate £56 million for the Scottish economy supporting 18 conferences and events between 2013 and 2020 with a total public sector spend of just £1 million:

He added: "Business tourism showcases our assets to the world, boosting our exports, enhancing our reputation and attracting inward investment, it is therefore a key driver of growth and collaboration for Scotland."

The return on investment from the fund promises to be 56 to one and this was a point picked up by the Conservative's Mary Scanlon, who unusually for an opposition MSP, was keen to congratulate the minister on his prudence with the public purse.

Ms Scanlon quipped: "I commend him for turning £1 into £53 and all I can say is, John Swinney (Finance Secretary) watch your back."

Labour's Ken MacIntosh dubbed the growth in business tourism as "bucking the trend" and said the sector now accounted for 20% of all tourism spend in Scotland.

Despite the outbreak of consensus across the chamber, Mr MacIntosh could not resist pointing out the "Union dividend" which he believed was the reason behind this success.

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