Host City: Scotland will host the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023. Who were all the partners involved in securing this new event? Going forward, how important will partnership working be in creating and delivering this new event?
Paul Bush: The event is the vision of UCI President, David Lappartient, and we are extremely excited to be hosting the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023. We worked in collaboration with the Scottish Government, Glasgow Life, UK Sport and British Cycling to secure the event after the UCI announced its ambition to create this brand new cycling concept in 2018.
Collaboration will continue to be key amongst the current and future partners as we develop and deliver this event, especially as it will provide a visible focus to support the acceleration of a range of local and national policy initiatives across the areas such as of health, transport, sport and tourism.
Host City: Scotland has just successfully delivered The 2019 Solheim Cup, hailed the best-ever staged. How was it and what other major events has Scotland got on the horizon?
Paul Bush: I’m incredibly proud of what was delivered and could not have asked for a more thrilling finish! We set out four years ago to deliver an event that would take the Solheim Cup to the next level and Scotland has achieved that. Record crowds of more than 90,000 turned out to watch, making it the highest attended women’s golf event ever held in the UK.
We also set a new benchmark for accessibility and inclusion as well as the quality and scale of the infrastructure to support the event, including a dedicated family zone which significantly enhanced the event experience for parents bringing their children. It once again proved Scotland delivers on the international stage.
Looking ahead there’s lots to look forward to including the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup and the LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships both in Glasgow this November and December respectively. Next year Scotland hosts the UEFA EURO 2020 and World Men’s Curling Championships in Glasgow, LEN Junior Championships in Aberdeen and the Women’s British Open at Troon. Beyond that there is The 150th Open at St Andrews in 2021, the Sprint World Orienteering Championships in Edinburgh in 2022 and the Orkney Island Games in 2023. Together with our annual portfolio of events and festivals, there’s a lot taking place in Scotland over the next few years.
Host City: What impact do you think the new P&J Live in Aberdeen will have on Scotland’s ability to host major events?
Paul Bush: Aberdeen’s brand-new events venue and arena, P&J Live, is going to have a big impact on Scotland’s events industry. It is a world-class venue and is the largest event complex in the North of Scotland with 48,000sqm of flexible event space and is expected to contribute an additional 4.5million visitors, £113 million of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy.
Already the venue has attracted major artists and events, including most recently BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2019, which will be broadcast live to millions watching on BBC One. It will be a great showcase for the venue, Aberdeen and Scotland.
The VisitScotland Expo will also be held there next April. The two-day event is Scotland’s premier business to business travel trade event so again a great opportunity to showcase the venue and the region to key leisure buyers from all corners of the world.
Host City: Sports, business or cultural events – what is their relative importance to Scotland and how do you prioritise investment in each of these?
Paul Bush: All three types of events are equally important to us and it is not a question of prioritising investment in one type of event over another. We find taking a portfolio approach to events and festivals as outlined in our national events strategy works best for Scotland, our partners and the industry.
Taking this approach allows for a variety of large and small, fixed, recurring and one-off events to be identified and supported. It also ensures that over time a wide range of significant impacts can be delivered.
Host City: Scotland has hosted Host City since 2015. What are your expectations of Host City 2019 and its theme of “Innovate, Reformulate, Co-Create”?
Paul Bush: Scotland has a strong affinity with Host City and I’m delighted it’s returning to Glasgow for the 5th consecutive year. I’m expecting another lively two days of thought provoking debate and discussion as we delve into this year’s theme, which is extremely relevant to the events industry as we need to continue to evolve and innovate in order to stay relevant especially in this ever-changing, dynamic and at times, unpredictable world.