Today, Thursday 31st October 2013, Aberdeen City Council have announced their intention to proceed with the development of a new, larger Aberdeen Exhibition Centre in conjunction with a commercial development partner.
Between 2001/02 and 2012/13, the Centre’s turnover has grown almost three-fold, from £2.5m to £7.1m the best year in the Centre’s 28 year history. Event growth has continued at a substantial rate, particularly for energy related events, which dominate the diary.
Additionally the AECC has increased its economic contribution to Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire from around £12m in 1989, to an estimated £109m last year (2011/12), and supports over 1, 000 jobs in the Region.
Home to the Aberdeen Conference Centre and the GE Oil & Gas Arena, AECC was opened in 1986 to house the biennial Oil and Gas Show ‘Offshore Europe (OE)’. This Show, owned by Reed Exhibitions jointly with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) grew to record size at the recent September 2013 Show, with a record attendance of 63, 000 people, up 28.6% from the 49, 000 attendees in 2011.
However the AECC additionally hosts around 600 events each year, with over 300, 000 people attending events at the Venue in 2012. Total number of events held at the Venue rose by 8% to 611 between 2011/12 and 2012/13, with event size increasing for many sectors.
The Venue and surrounding infrastructure servicing Offshore Europe is now at capacity. A new, larger high-quality space is urgently required to deliver a higher quality experience for both visitors and exhibiting companies attending OE from around the globe, as well as to provide space for continued growth due to continuing demand for space.
Entertainment is a sector where Aberdeen has increasingly lost out in recent years, as the AECC’s seated capacity is quite small (even by UK standards). The scale of the Arena to accommodate increasingly sophisticated and large-scale productions for live concerts is a further constraint. The new Venue will open up opportunities to attract more concerts, and a number of shows which require a larger capacity. There is no question that people in the North-East of Scotland have an appetite for quality live events.
The Aberdeen City Council choice for the proposed new Venue is a site close to Aberdeen International Airport. This gives new opportunities for improved accessibility both for air passengers and by road as the Western Peripheral Route is developed and opened. It also enables construction to take place without disruption to the current high level of business forward booked already at the existing site.
Brian Horsburgh, MD of AECC said: “I am delighted with today’s decision. This will enable AECC to take a quantum leap forward as a World-Class Centre for business events and entertainment, and to increasingly contribute to the Region’s economy going forward, as a key element of Aberdeen City’s infrastructure.”
He added: “Our challenge will be to find ways to continue to grow the business over the next three to four years until the new Centre is completed in 2017.”
For information please contact Victoria Withy, Head of Communications on 01224 330 487, [email protected].