Dundee and Angus plans to defy recession by cashing in on business tourism

27th January 2009

<p>The economy may have officially slipped into recession but Dundee and Angus is one region of the UK that plans to defy the continuing economic turmoil by expanding its local economy rather than watch it contract, reports the Evening Telegraph.</p><p>Dundee and Angus has seen steady growth in its business tourism sector over the past decade, recording a 400 per cent increase in revenue between 1997 and 2007. Growth has become less dramatic since the credit crunch took a firmer grip on the UK economy, but 2007 figures nonetheless recorded a £2 million increase over the previous year.</p><p>Business tourists continue to be a major source of income in the region and maintaining solid visitor figures will be an important element to ensure the future wellbeing of Dundee and Angus. The sector brought in £48 million during the course of 2007, and the Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau is aiming to push past the symbolic £50 million mark over the next 12 months.</p><p>Corporate future planning will partly help to reach this target. Conference organisers tend to plan their events far in advance and although the economy has entered recession since many conference bookings were made, businesses frequently feel that a conference is among the best ways to communicate their message and motivate their staff. In this way, cancellation of pre-booked events becomes less likely. The Scottish Labour Party will converge on the Caird Hall in March in one of the year's first major events.</p><p>Karen Tocher, business tourism manager at Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau, told the paper: "In April [there] is the Association of Speakers Clubs at the Hilton, which will welcome 350 delegates. The Palliative Care Conference will also return this year, bringing around 200 delegates to the area."</p><p>With Dundee and Angus proving an attractive event venue for many major businesses and organisations, the bureau plans to feed from these regular clients to aid a seemingly ambitious ten per cent growth a year for the next five years.</p><p>The region will also be utilising its Ambassador Programme, which effectively involves scouting for event organisers and conference professionals who may be seeking somewhere suitable to take their business. These 'ambassadors' can represent Dundee and Angus at events around the world, concentrating on major firms and encouraging bookings by helping with all aspects of planning if need be.</p><p>Business tourism is more valuable than leisure tourism by a factor of three, and the authorities in Dundee and Angus understand this keenly. Once a conference venue itself - potentially seating several hundred delegates - has been paid for, business tourists need somewhere to sleep, places to unwind and relax after a day spent in the meeting room, and often transport between the hotel and the conference room. Prices stack up, which at once illustrates why the conference sector is so important to Dundee and Angus.</p><p>The economy in Dundee and Angus is nonetheless suffering. The Press and Journal reports that a Kirrie business has initiated a four-day working week in response to a decline in sales over recent weeks.<br/><img alt="ADNFCR-1753-ID-18994201-ADNFCR" src="http://feeds.directnews.co.uk/feedtrack/justcopyright.gif?feedid=1753&itemid=18994201" /></p>