Glasgow became the first host city in the world to launch a bespoke programme of awareness sessions for the tourism and hospitality industry in advance of three major international medical conferences, which have been taking place throughout 2018.

Over 450 have attended the People Make Glasgow Welcome sessions, delivered by experts from each association and local people living with the conditions.

Approximately 700 delegates, roughly 10% of those attending the World Federation of Hemophilia, the World Down Syndrome Congress and the International Symposium on ALS/MND, are living with the conditions under discussion.

To ensure Glasgow was prepared to give the warmest welcome possible to all attendees, Glasgow Convention Bureau partnered with Glasgow Welcomes (supported by Scottish Enterprise) and VisitScotland to launch the People Make Glasgow Welcome initiative.  A crucial element of this being the free educational sessions designed to help taxi drivers, staff at transport hubs, Scottish Event Campus, hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions better understand the requirements of delegates who will soon be arriving in Glasgow.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at Glasgow Conventions Bureau, said, “Glasgow has been cited as one of the world’s friendliest cities and the People Make Glasgow Welcome initiative epitomises how Team Glasgow supports and works with our conference organisers to gain a fuller understanding of our delegates’ needs. The educational sessions, led by our clients, has prepared the city to give a warm, educated and appropriate welcome.

We are delighted to be the first city in the world to offer such training and city wide preparation for these prestigious meetings and we will be sharing the videos of the sessions with our clients, so that they may take the learnings with them to their next conference destination.”

Jo Hughes, Family Support Manager at Down’s Syndrome Scotland, ran the awareness sessions on behalf of the World Down Syndrome Congress with Andrew Macintyre and Stuart Campbell, two Lead Commissioners who have been instrumental throughout the process. She commented, “Delivering the awareness sessions means that we can ensure that all those who attended have current and accurate knowledge about Down’s syndrome today and how to positively include and support people with the disability, whichever their area of business; this ensures they can welcome and support people who have Down’s syndrome from all over the world to have a wholly positive experience during their visit to Glasgow.

Two of our Lead Commissioners, Andrew Macintyre and Stuart Campbell also co-delivered the sessions with myself and proved to the audience that having Down’s syndrome doesn’t stop you from doing things, they gave a clear message that having a disability doesn’t define who you are and to remember that anyone who has a disability is a person first.”

The Scottish Event Campus was the chosen venue for all three medical conference, with members of its staff taking part in the awareness sessions as part of its preparations for the event.

Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SEC, said:

Whilst these training sessions are a practical way of preparing to host these conferences, they also highlight the unparalleled cross-city connections that we possess in Glasgow which is so critical to conference organisers. When we secured these conferences several years ago, we knew that they would provide an important and unique opportunity to leave a legacy in the venue and the city – this training is the perfect example of how conferences have a much greater impact than economic benefit.

We aim to provide all our clients with the best possible experience here in Glasgow, and this is one of the many ways in which we aim to do so.

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