Over the next 10 years, the centre is expected to contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113 million of visitor spend and £63 million net GVA to the Scottish economy.
The move may also help to ease the economic blow to the city-shire –and also to smoothe ruffled municipal feathers – after Aberdeen lost out on hosting the All Energy, one of the UK’s biggest energy exhibitions – to Glasgow this year.
The aim is to secure a high proportion of the business tourism market for the North East and to help build on Aberdeen cooncil’s broader plans for weekend visitors.
The new centre will provide four times the current exhibition space, double the seated entertainment arena to 10,000, lead to an additional £11m of visitor spend per annum, and – it is claimed – elevate Aberdeen into the top 5 of global competitor energy cities for conferences and exhibitions.
The £207 million centre will also enhance business space planned for the city-shire region, as reflected in the Aberdeen City Region Deal and the Aberdeen Strategic Infrastructure Plan which aims to retain and build on Aberdeen’s position as Europe’s oil and gas capital.
With Scotland’s oil and gas exports reaching £10 billion in 2012/13, a dedicated workforce of 224,000 and 2000 supply chain firms, the sector is one of the most important to the Scottish and UK economies.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “As the energy capital of Europe and a global centre for expertise in technology, the Scottish Government is keen to promote Aberdeen as a focus for international investment and events.
“Scottish Enterprise has supported a range of major infrastructure investments in recent years in order to maximise the economic return for Scotland and this new facility will provide a valuable asset, significantly strengthening the capacity to attract international conferences to the city.”