Welcome to our new Member Spotlight series, where each month we will be highlighting members that go above and beyond or have extraordinary and compelling stories to tell. We are delighted to feature for our second Member Spotlight Glasgow Life, the destination marketing organisation for Glasgow that manages the award-winning PEOPLE MAKE GLASGOW brand and delivers services on behalf of Glasgow City Council to locals and visitors, providing opportunities through culture, sport and learning.
In November, Glasgow will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), where participants from around the world will come together to highlight climate change issues, share knowledge, and draw up plans to tackle climate change.
Glasgow was chosen by the UK to host COP26 due to its experience, commitment to sustainability and world-class facilities. We spoke with Anne-Marie who is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Glasgow Life to understand more about their goals, preparation for COP26 and achievements so far.
Thank you for taking part in our Member Spotlight series! Can you tell us a bit about Glasgow Life, and your role in the organisation?
Glasgow Life is the lead organisation for Tourism and Events for the city of Glasgow. The team incorporates Destination Marketing, Major Events and the Glasgow Convention Bureau.
As membership manager, I work with local tourism businesses and our partners, VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, to support the creation and development of travel trade ready visitor experiences.
What are some of the most rewarding parts of your job (or a highlight)? And the most challenging?
For some businesses, the long-term commitment to travel trade engagement can be challenging, however; a highlight of my role is to see businesses that I’ve supported go from strength to strength, develop relationships with operators, secure new bookings and attend trade shows.
What does it mean to Glasgow to host COP26 this year and how might the city benefit in the longer term?
Glasgow, in old Scots means Dear Green Place, so what better destination for the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP26 to take place! Glasgow was chosen by the UK to host the summit due to its experience, commitment to sustainability and the world-class facilities at the Scottish Event Campus, the SEC Glasgow. The city has set a target for carbon neutrality by 2030 and aims to be one of the greenest cities in Europe through its Sustainable Glasgow campaign.
In longer term, the city is committed to offering a high-quality urban life to be enjoyed by both citizens and our visitors, as we come out the other side of the Covid pandemic. The city wants to see both green and inclusive economic growth so that sustainability, responsible tourism and social justice are hallmarks of Glasgow’s message to the world and its offer to residents, businesses and visitors.
Glasgow was awarded Global Green City last year – congratulations! What were some of the key achievements/innovations that contributed to Glasgow being internationally recognised as a sustainable city?
Being awarded Global Green City 2020 is fantastic achievement for our city; it tells the positive story of Glasgow’s journey, from steam… to green.
The award, which is supported by the United Nation’s Environment Programme, puts Glasgow in the same bracket as previous winners such as Vancouver, Vienna, and Yokohama.
Glasgow is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, with the city partners joined together to meet the challenges faced by the climate emergency. Glasgow won the award after recording high scores across wide ranging criteria including planning, transport, low carbon and energy efficiency, transportation, buildings, open spaces and the economy.
Sustainable tourism has become a priority issue for many destinations around the world. What role does Glasgow Life play in helping to reduce the environmental impact of tourism and encourage responsible tourism?
Glasgow was the first city to join the Global Destination Sustainability Index of sustainable tourism and event cities in 2016 and currently ranks 4th in the world.
Through our Membership programme, Glasgow Life champions tourism and events businesses that have achieved sustainable accreditation, whilst advocating on behalf of the sector to promote the city’s green credentials. From a Business Tourism perspective, the Glasgow Convention Bureau was the first of its kind in Europe to achieve a Green Tourism award and the first Convention Bureau in the world to sign up to Tourism Declare. The People Make Glasgow Greener campaign offers conference organisers a toolkit to help deliver a sustainable conference by aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
How do you ensure that the local communities are engaged and feel they benefit from tourists coming to the city?
COP26 is a great example of a conference engaging with local communities. The conference offers the opportunity for over 1000 locals to volunteer as city hosts to help give a warm welcome!
In addition, Glasgow Life works in close partnership with major national stakeholders VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, while also working closely with the tourism industry in the city through the Glasgow Tourism and Events Group, comprising the sector leads from hotels, venues, transport and restaurants.
The People Make Glasgow campaign has been a great way to bring the people of the city to the forefront when promoting our tourism experiences. Voted the World’s Friendliest City, visitors to Glasgow often cite the warm welcome from the people of Glasgow at their most memorable experience.
For many businesses, the pandemic has been a catalyst for innovation as they seek new ways to engage their audiences and welcome customers safely. What are some of the most interesting/exciting developments you’ve seen take place over the last year?
Businesses have been working to create new experiences and visitors to Glasgow will now be able to explore the legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh on the only dedicated tour, indulge in luxury afternoon tea at Mackintosh at The Willow and immerse themselves in music, history and heritage with the new city walking tour app.
Glasgow’s hospitality industry has been maximising their outside space and none more so that arts and music venue SWG3 which has transformed their outdoor Galvanizers Yard into a huge outdoor food and drink venue which includes a backdrop of evolving graffiti walls. The venue has been grant funding, to help create Scotland’s first ‘street art district’.
And finally, can you give us a sneak peek at what visitors to Glasgow can look forward to when they’re able to return?
Although we’ve not been able to welcome visitors to our city for some time now, we’ve been busy planning for when it’s once again possible.
New hotel openings include the 256-room YOTEL featuring a rooftop bar complete with a bowling alley and the 4-star Clayton property built within the existing Grade A listed Custom House on the River Clyde.
In true Glasgow spirit, new restaurants, bars and cafes have continued to open in the city during the past year and we’ve also welcomed our first Michelin starred restaurant, Cail Bruich.