City events programme to put Aberdeen in the spotlight

A series of events designed to enhance Aberdeen’s cultural offering have (7 December) been given the green light.

Key events including Aberdeen's Highland Games, Armed Forces Day and SPECTRA will continue to be delivered from April 2017, as Aberdeen looks to grow and develop its existing programme of activities while attracting new and exciting events, in line with its regional economic priorities.

Also approved was the Aberdeen 365 Events Strategy, a City Centre Masterplan initiative which seeks to provide a framework for the attraction of events to Aberdeen and the wider region in the future while significantly increasing economic benefits.

Members of the Aberdeen City Council Finance, Policy and Resources Committee agreed plans to host two new large scale public events next year, which are part of Aberdeen 365.

Officers will work with event organisers and partner agencies to deliver a round of the annual cycling Tour Series in May 2017.

This premier road cycling event will give Scottish cycling fans the opportunity to see Britain’s top teams and riders competing in Aberdeen for the first time.

And the Nuart Festival will bring a splash of colour to the city through professional street art projects.

Both events will benefit the city region greatly through economic spend, professional event organiser relationships, increased profile, and new audiences who will travel to the city to experience the growing events offer.

This is in addition to the Great Aberdeen Run, another Masterplan-backed event which was unveiled last month and will be held for the first time in Aberdeen on 27 August 2017.

Aberdeen City Council’s Finance, Policy and Resources Convener Councillor Willie Young said: “Aberdeen is a dynamic city with a lot to offer both our own residents and visitors. In the last few years, we have made a concentrated effort to raise the city’s profile through a fitting events programme which has become more and more ambitious.

“Yesterday’s decision further cements our commitment to capitalise on Aberdeen’s strengths by encouraging inward investment through cultural and sporting opportunities, increased tourism while supporting community driven events for our residents.

“We have also recently been successful in procuring a hugely successful international event management company to bring high-profile music events and conferences to the new AECC arena for the benefit of the entire North-east region.

“As a council we have put diversification at the heart of our Regional Economic Strategy and establishing the city as a must-visit destination is an important strand of that long term vision. There is significant investment in infrastructure and the built environment, but it is important that the cultural element is not neglected and the decision of the committee demonstrates our commitment to a vibrant and diverse events programme which will draw visitors from near and far.”

Officers will now bring forward an operational plan and budget proposal to the committee in February that will include feasibility of bringing major events to the city, including Tall Ships.

In addition to agreeing the recommendations, Councillors also decided that a tourism levy would be one option to raise the funds needed for a compelling and sustainable events implementation plan and instructed officers to report back to committee with a cost-benefit analysis/appraisal.