Of all the cities across the globe that have re-invented themselves for modern-day business, Glasgow did it first, did it best and is still doing it with the most style. Its recent accomplishments speak to this fact: it was the first UK destination to be named a European Capital of Culture by the European Union; Travel + Leisure magazine named Glasgow "the UK's hippest and most happening city"; while Lonely Planet listed Glasgow as one of the top 10 cities to see in the world in 2009, the only UK destination to make the cut. The city has certainly established itself as one of Europe's most vibrant and cosmopolitan destinations, now confidently branding itself as "Glasgow: Scotland with Style."
Glasgow's exciting renaissance has been built upon a massive investment in its convention and conferencing industry, led by the magnificent and ever-improving Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). Located in the heart of Glasgow, the venue is the UK's largest integrated conference exhibition facility, hosting events of 10, 10,000 and even 25,000 guests. The SECC will soon improve its offering even further, with a £562 million master plan in the works that includes the construction of the 12,500-seat National Arena. Once completed, Glasgow will be the only destination in Europe to have such a purpose-built exhibition center, conference center and arena on one site.
The SECC is not the only development on the horizon in Glasgow. Currently, more than £1 billion is being invested to transform the riverfront into a first-class district for business and leisure, while a number of attractions throughout the city have been or are in the midst of impressive refurbishments. Lucky for incentive groups and conference guests, many of these venues are available for Glasgow events and receptions.
Following a three-year, £30 million renovation, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of the top Glasgow attractions and a striking setting for elegant receptions and banquets. Located in the Merchant City area, City Halls, the oldest purpose-built meeting space in the city, recently underwent £15 million in updates. Today, it's a perfect setting for keynote presentations and seminars of 15 to over 900 people. For a truly unique Glasgow venue, look no further than The Arches, which, following an extensive remodel in the early 90s has become one of Europe's leading art and music venues. With room for up to 2,000 people, flexible spaces and a creative team, The Arches can host everything from a disco-themed post-conference celebration to a traditional Scottish banquet.
No matter where the conference events take them, guests can rest assured that they'll have no trouble navigating the streets of Glasgow. In fact, Glasgow taxi drivers are known for being some of the friendliest in the world, offering quick, reliable service and advice on local attractions. Transportation to Glasgow is just as easy, as the city has two rail stations connecting to London, Manchester and Birmingham in fewer than five hours. Glasgow also has two international airports, with the closest – Glasgow Airport – offering flights to more than 100 destinations.
Home to the largest economy in Scotland, Glasgow has seen a rapid growth in the financial and business industries. In fact, the city's International Financial District, known locally as the "Wall Street on the Clyde," plays host to world-class financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Two universities, the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University, bring additional energy, creativity and vitality to this thriving city.