A Scottish meetings & events company is hoping that the pandemic will ease this year so that a key annual event it arranges for a long-standing US-based customer, will go ahead in Heidelberg, Germany, in December.
The same customer, International Student Exchange, a business which sources host families for students, has already selected Edinburgh to be a host city for its annual get-together in 2022.
Fusion Meetings & Events, which works across the drinks, leisure, pharmaceutical, finance & health sectors, and is active in over 60 countries, has an 11-year relationship with International Student Exchange.
Had it not been for the Covid-19 pandemic, its annual 800 room, 400 delegate, eight day event would have taken place in Edinburgh in 2020. ISE’s business is worth around $1m to the city’s hotel and conferencing sector.
FME is also working on another 2022 event, a 10- plus, four day delegate event in Iceland for International Perinatal Collegium, a group of medical doctors and professors who come together biannually to advance practices and medicines in perinatal care.
Another long-standing FME customer, IPG, enjoyed a delegation in Greece in 2019. The Iceland meeting was supposed to have been held last year, but it too had to be cancelled because of Covid19. As it’s still not certain if any events can happen in the summer of 2021, it has been rescheduled to 2022.
FME director Stuart Evans, said: “Obviously, it was extremely disappointing that ISE couldn’t come to Edinburgh last year, and IPG to Iceland. These events alone represent over half a million pounds worth of spend. Enabling groups to meet in various locations all over the world is what we are all about.”
“We’re just glad to be busy now and moving forward. We’re delighted that we have already secured the business from ISE to bring them back to Edinburgh in 2022. We’re hoping and praying that International Student Exchange can meet in Heidelberg later this year. Closer to home we’re busy too, working on an Oil & Gas Industry Event which is planned to take place in St Andrews in November of this year.
“With the vaccine roll out underway pretty much all over the world, we have to hope that the latter part of 2021 presents real and lasting opportunities for groups to meet up again.”
Mr Evans added that various clients had been telling him how much they had missed the interaction, the networking, and the sheer pleasure of getting together in a beautiful place.
“The appetite for people to return to this sector soon has never been greater. When the world allows us to resume, we are ready to instantly respond.
“We’ll continue to give our clients the best transparent service we can, whether it’s for events staged here in the UK, or abroad.”
He said that he was pleased that, within FME, 90% of staff had been fully retained throughout the pandemic, many of them redeployed to other tasks within Fusion Group.
“Several staff are working within our Accommodation Services division which supports the Hotel & Leisure sector with services such as an external reservations hub, procurement, plus property maintenance, protection and security,” he said.
“The pandemic will present opportunities for this sector, with many hotels looking to cut operating costs and improve efficiency when they re-open, perhaps with less staff on the payroll.”
“Ultimately however, when you work in events you miss the buzz of a large scale event done well, and that is what we’re all looking forward to.”
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