Castle visit unveils major opportunities

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On the 19th July 2011 MEI's Business Network Group's from the UK, Brazil and Scotland were hosted at Edinburgh Castle, home to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, by key stakeholders in leading iconic events in Scotland.

Establishing itself as the leader in demonstrating benefits from hosting events, the rewards are visible in the selection for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup. Furthermore home to an annual programme of 12 significant bespoke festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe, the largest festival in the world. Kath Mainland, Chief Executive of the Festival Fringe Society hosted a Q&A for the attendees revealing how Scotland is now generating £240m per annum through events. The reason for meeting at Edinburgh Castle was to offer members and colleagues a debut tour of the VIP Stands which are installed for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Brigadier David Alfrey, CEO of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo welcomed the delegation, explaining his vision for developing this event which began in 1949 to mitigate the post war difficulties experienced locally. Today this event in August sells out well in advance to an international audience with TV coverage of over 100 million viewers. Given the recent £16 million investment in infrastructure, David and Major Projects Development Manager, Tom Chambers, are currently looking at ideas how best to develop this Tattoo to the next level in terms of the visitor experience, revenue generation and international profile. This ignited a lively and informative discussion amongst the group where ideas and solutions were shared. Dr Walter Feldman Special Secretary for Major Events in Sao Paulo was also present to learn best practice from Scotland. Dr Feldman is closely engaged in supporting MEI launch the new Major Events Business Group in Brazil. Following the discussions and a networking lunch, Tom Chambers Major Projects Development Manager for the Tattoo showed delegates around the VIP stands, they were amazed at the complexity of the temporary structure which is erected on a World Heritage site. Other than transforming this unique event, the new structure led to some extraordinary discoveries including construction from 1540 and other sites of importance. Attendees were astonished at the quality of the engineering solution, project management and the fact it is a temporary feature. During the open forum chaired by Tom Chambers, he explained the compiled operations involved in delivering the event and where he thought industry plays a role as partners with them. Among the delegation was Jillian Moffat from Scottish Enterprise, Mark Stuart of Event Scotland, Greg Ward of Edinburgh City Council, as well as Cathy Grieve representing the Belgium Sports Technology Club providing attendees with a wider and international perspective on the opportunities around the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Steve Revell Commercial Director of Rapiscan Systems along with Cliff Simpson, Director of ESTC have been given the opportunity to offer their capabilities and experience to refine plans for August 2011 with a view to learning lessons for future years. One of the key actions laid on MEI is to engage with Tom Chambers looking at the possibility of MEI Members attending the Tattoo in August as official observers helping complete a lessons learned document for the CEO. MEI will discuss how this will work but members who are interested in getting involved should register their interest by contacting abrice@majoreventsint. com.

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