Glasgow has been nominated for the title of Europe’s Leading Festival & Event Destination by the World Travel Awards following a run of unprecedented success.
Earlier this month the Scottish powerhouse hosted the European Athletics Indoor Championships, but this was just the latest in a run of major sporting events to visit the city.
From the best ever Commonwealth Games in 2014, to the inaugural European Championships in 2018, the city is one of the top five sporting cities in the world.
With over 500,000 attendees across the European Championships, the 12 sport venues and three cultural live sites were packed demonstrating Glasgow’s appetite for major events.
The city is renowned for delivering successful world-class events, and this reputation was a deciding factor in Glasgow being awarded the first-ever UCI World Cycling Championships in 2023.
This innovative event will bring together the 13 existing World Cycling Championships disciplines into one event for the first time – and will also take place alongside a major cultural festival for the first time.
The event, which will take place at venues in Glasgow and across Scotland over two weeks in August, 2023, has been awarded in recognition of the country’s proven expertise in delivering world-class, innovative and ground-breaking events.
Glasgow’s flagship home-grown mass-participation sporting event is the Great Scottish Run, which now meets the IAAF gold standard.
In 2018, the Great Scottish Run was held over three days and televised live on the BBC.
Participation figures exceeded previous editions, with 3,000 children taking part at the Friday schools’ event, and around 27,500 runners involved in Super Saturday, the ten kilometre and half marathon events.
The city is home to six major sports teams in football, rugby, basketball and netball – all of which have phenomenal spectator numbers again showing Glasgow’s love of sport.
While elite sport was the main attraction for visitors to the city during the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, the accompanying Festival 2018 and Go Live! programmes proved more popular than anticipated, with an incredible half a million visitors over the eleven days of competition.
The first-ever Glasgow Mela was held in 1990 when Glasgow became the first city in the UK to be European City of Culture.
The Mela is held in Kelvingrove Park and celebrates all of Glasgow’s communities and the unique diversity of the city.
Around 45,000 people attended the event in 2018 enjoying dozens of artists and performers from Glasgow, the UK, and across the world including the biggest-selling female bhangra artist of all time, Miss Pooja.
Word-leading music festival Celtic Connections presents 18 incredible days of music, ceilidhs, talks, screenings and much more every year in venues across Glasgow.
Around 2,000 artists from 25 countries took part in 300 events for Celtic Connections 2019.
The festival, which was first held in 1994, stays true to its Celtic musical roots while continually seeking to explore new ideas and musical styles, with folk, jazz, techno and Americana among the 2019 programme.
An award-winning education programme helps 9,000 schoolchildren learn about traditional music during each festival.
Other annual cultural events include the Merchant City Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Glasgow International Comedy Festival, the World Pipe Band Championships and the biennial Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.
The news comes at an exciting time for the Scottish tourism, with the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions recently reporting that visits to its member sites rose slightly in 2018.
This is the fifth year running that an increase in numbers has been recorded.
Analysis of statistics submitted by 232 of the organisation’s member sites for its annual Visitor Trends Report confirmed that 30,262,245 visits were made to those sites in Scotland in 2018, which represents a modest increase of 0.1 per cent over 2017 figures.
The increase comes on top of a 9.7 per cent rise in 2017, which itself followed a six per cent rise in 2016, confirming once again that visitor attractions in Scotland are enjoying a period of sustained growth.
The two top sites – the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle – each attracted more than two million visits, only the second time that any visitor attraction in Scotland has surpassed the two million milestone.
Four additional sites attracted in excess of one million visitors – two in Edinburgh (Scottish National Gallery and St Giles’ Cathedral) and two in Glasgow (Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum).
Sectors which fared particularly well in 2018 include castles and heritage sites (up 4.2 per cent), zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums (up 4.3 per cent), sports and activity attractions (up 7.7 per cent) and distilleries/whisky-related attractions (up 2.3 per cent).
Overall, some 59 per cent of all visits were made to attractions that featured in the top 20 list.
Scottish cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “It’s fantastic to see the success of ASVA’s iconic tourist sites attracting more than 30 million visits in 2018.
“From the new V&A Dundee and growing numbers of distilleries to our historic castles and battlefields which are benefitting from the Outlander effect these figures show Scotland is a magnet for visitors from around the world.”
To vote for Glasgow in the race to become Europe’s Leading Festival & Event Destination head over to the official World Travel Awards site here.