National Event Strategy review and refresh - Scotland: the perfect stage

Closed 30 Jun 2023

Opened 24 Mar 2023

Feedback updated 3 Jan 2024

We asked

We sought views on what Scotland’s National Events Strategy 2025-2035 should look like. The Scottish events sector, Scottish Government and VisitScotland are working together with trade unions and local authorities to do this. The related public consultation opened on 24 March 2023 and closed on 30 June 2023. In addition, VisitScotland delivered a series of nine workshops and a webinar to gather views.

You said

The online consultation survey received 102 responses from a mix of individuals (33%) and organisations (67%). In addition, a total of 222 participants attended the series of nine in person regional workshops and one virtual webinar in support of the consultation.

An independent analysis of the consultation responses has been undertaken. This is now available on the Scottish Government website.

The key findings of the analysis included:


  • 92% of respondents supported the proposed ambition of the strategy as set out in the consultation paper.
  • Boosting the economy and enhancing wellbeing and community engagement were considered to be the most important strategic priorities for events over the next 10 years. Promoting inward investment and a greater focus on equality, diversity and inclusion were also highlighted.
  • Priorities for mega events included ensuring legacy, clear benefits for local communities and maximising skills development opportunities.
  • Case studies could help measure event impacts and it was important to measure both the direct and indirect impact of events.

Wellbeing/Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

  • 83% of respondents agreed events are welcoming; 52% of respondents agreed that events in Scotland are inclusive (16% disagreed); 48% agreed that events in Scotland are accessible (12% disagreed) and 41% that events in Scotland are affordable (26% disagreed). A high proportion of respondents held neutral views regarding three of the four statements. This perhaps highlights a difficulty in answering this question in general terms given the variation in accessibility, affordability, inclusivity and the level of welcome across all events in Scotland.
  • Some respondents were keen to see the development of wellbeing measurement frameworks to enable consistent data collection and evaluation.
  • 55% of respondents agreed that event organisers involve communities in planning. Boosting community engagement and ownership were identified as particular opportunities. 28% neither agreed nor disagreed.
  • The majority of people responding to the survey indicated that the diversity of events in Scotland is very important. The barriers to diverse events were inadequate infrastructure ,an absence of suitable event spaces outside of cities, supply chain capacity and a funding.

Working in the sector

  • 61% of those responding to the survey think that the event sector is an attractive place to work.
  • The majority of respondents felt that better regulation of the sector on working hours, pay and conditions would boost Fair Work.
  • The majority of respondents did not think that there are sufficient opportunities to learn about what it is like to work in the event sector, to gain the relevant skills and experiences and to further a career in the sector.

Net Zero and Environmental Sustainability

  • More information and guidance would help event participants/attendees limit any negative environmental impacts.
  • Tools to help enhance environmental sustainability could be developed for event organisers.

We did

Working with VisitScotland, we are using the results of the consultation analysis to inform further engagement with stakeholders including: the events sector (including the Event Industry Advisory Group); the Convention of Scotland’s Local Authorities; Trade Unions; organisations representing Scotland’s communities; and other bodies with an interest in events.

The views and evidence gathered will then be used- alongside the findings presented in the public consultation analysis and responses themselves- to inform the drafting of the National Events Strategy 2025-2035. This will be led by VisitScotland with support from the Scottish Government and others listed above. We expect that the strategy will be published in the Spring of 2024.

Meantime, we would like to offer a Scottish Government response to some of the findings emerging from consultation. This is set out below:

  • We are encouraged that the majority of respondents to the survey supported the proposed ambition of the strategy. The more detailed content of the strategy will be developed on this basis.
  • Boosting the economy and contributing to enhancing wellbeing and community engagement were considered by respondents to be the most important strategic priorities for events. Work underway to build on this includes:
  • Further development of the partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment with lead partners. This will help to identify the costs, benefits and risks for businesses and will be published alongside the new strategy. Recent actions include discussions with regulators to hear their views on the opportunities and challenges.
  • An Equality Impact Assessment, Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment and Island Community Impact Assessment are also being developed for the strategy. Their findings will contribute to the strategy’s strategic outcome around the wellbeing, along with research funded by VisitScotland and the recently published Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy’s ‘whole person approach’. Views that emerged from the Regional Engagement Workshop in Orkney and responses from island communities and organisations will be especially relevant to the development of the Island Community Impact Assessment. We also aim to build on this through further engagement with island communities.
  • We are working with lead partners to develop the collective approach to the other three strategic priorities identified in the consultation- contributing to the drive towards net zero and environmental sustainability, making the event sector a better place to work and showcasing and promoting Scotland’s assets. Environmental Sustainability/Net Zero and Fair Work are key priorities for the Scottish Government.
  • We will continue to identify areas for collaboration with policy areas across the Scottish Government – including culture, education, historic environment, public health, trade, and tourism. Possible areas of alignment include with the Culture Strategy Action Plan (which is being refreshed), International Culture Strategy (which is under development) and Our Past, Our Future, the new strategy for Scotland’s historic environment sector, which was published earlier in 2023.
  • On ensuring a greater focus on equality, diversity and inclusion, we have been continuing to engage with organisations representing communities. For example, on 9 August 2023 the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture hosted a roundtable with lead partners to explore the opportunities and challenges to boosting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion via the national events strategy review. Further discussions and actions from this meeting will be progressed in advance of finalising the strategy with developments recorded in the Equality Impact Assessment.
  • The analysis highlighted the importance of accessibility, inclusion, and affordability in terms of creating an excellent event experience. Less than half of respondents to the survey felt that Scotland’s events were accessible and affordable, although a high proportion of respondents held neutral views. These aspects will be a priority for further discussion with lead partners during the remainder of the strategy review. VisitScotland’s inclusive and accessible tourism programmes already provide a range of tools, advice and guidance to boost social tourism, inclusion and accessibility, and we will explore any opportunities to build on this approach in future.
  • It is encouraging that most respondents to the consultation agreed that event organisers involve communities in planning and set out how the event will affect them. Meaningful community engagement and secure community ownership were identified by the analysis as key. Building on this, we will ensure that learning from previous events of all sizes is fed into the strategy review process.
  • 61% of those responding to the survey think that the event sector is an attractive place to work. However, there was a call for better regulation of the sector in terms of working hours, pay and conditions. Employment law is reserved, however,   we will continue our discussions with lead partners as part of a broader discussion around Fair Work, skills development and attracting and retaining talent within the sector, and discuss with the UK Government as appropriate. We continue to encourage the use of the Volunteer Charter which sets out 10 principles that provide the foundations for a good volunteer experience.
  • Just transition to net zero is a strategic priority for the Scottish Government as a whole. In response to the feedback for more guidance around environmental sustainability to help events and those attending them make the step changed needed to achieve Net Zero, we are currently reviewing the resources and tools available to assist businesses on their Net Zero journey and how these fit with the needs of the event sector. We are also exploring what measures/indicators might be best to showcase the event sectors broad progress towards Net Zero for further discussion and agreement with the sector as part of the new strategies wider measurable outcomes.
  • Securing sponsorship or working towards diversifying event organisers revenue streams were identified as financial opportunities for events. Concerns around the availability of public sector funding support for events was a headline theme emerging from the regional engagement workshops in support of the strategy review. While there are significant constraints on public funding, we will continue work with partners to agree and target public support. For example, events that help us deliver a wellbeing economy which works for individuals and communities and supports the transition to net zero. For the Scottish Government, this is expected to include refining the Strategic Alignment Framework which is used to consider mega event opportunities and delivery of these.
  • In response to feedback on measuring event impacts, including the use of case studies, we will continue work with analysts and partners to explore these and other measures further, building on the current Event Impacts. Work on improved measurement is also expected to consider measurement of societal and environmental impacts.

Results updated 25 Sep 2023

The independent analysis of the National Events Strategy Review public consultation was published on 22 September 2023 along with the associated papers.



Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


We wanted to hear your views on what a new National Events Strategy should look like. We asked a series of questions in the consultation paper and held a number of workshops. Your answers to these and more generally feedback from individuals and organisations are helping to inform the final Strategy.


Both the on-line survey and regional engagement workshops led by VisitScotland had a crucial role in providing information on which the analysis was based. All of the feedback received in writing and in person was carefully considered and will inform the development of the strategy review. In addition, we continue to liaise with lead partners and a range of other organisations with an interest. This is building on feedback from the consultation and will inform concluding the strategy review.


We are encouraged that so many people took the time to respond to the consultation, whether through a formal written consultation response or by giving their views at one of the workshops. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Why your views matter

This survey is aimed at

  • people who attend or would like to attend events in Scotland, people living in communities where events are held, and groups who represent them
  • organisations and people working in and with the Scottish event industry, across the public, private and third sectors

We would also welcome views from people and organisations from outside of Scotland. We would like to hear about the experiences of Scottish events and working with the Scottish events sector, and the approaches that the private, public and third sectors take to events in other countries.

We are seeking views on:

  • the ambition and priorities for events and the event sector in Scotland
  • the accessibility of events
  • what it is like to work in events
  • how events in Scotland can continue to collaborate and innovate
  • how events can promote cities, regions and Scotland as a whole internationally


  • Arts, Culture and Sport
  • Main hub