Despite being named the best in Europe the chief of Aberdeen Inspired says the group still has plenty to do.
The team travelled to Berlin on Tuesday evening to compete with some of the most impressive business revitalisation projects across the continent – and it came out a winner, as judges crowned it best European Business Improvement District by the Association of German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The message from chief executive Adrian Watson was clear following the victory – while bringing the highly coveted title to the North-east is a great achievement, the hard work continues.
“We have a responsibility, primarily to the 800 businesses out there which pay a business levy that allows us to do what we do. Today is another day of hard work,” said Mr Watson.
He added: “Those companies are keenly interested in what we do and we owe it to them to put on the finest festivals.”
Established in 2011, Aberdeen Inspired works with the council and companies to organise events and initiatives aimed at bringing more trade to the city centre.
After a successful five-year period, businesses held a ballot and chose to renew the organisation’s term until 2021.
It has funded and helped organise Aberdeen Comedy Festival, the Summer of Art and Aberdeen Jazz Festival and one of its most notable achievements was success of the Nuart Aberdeen Festival in mid-April.
Established as a highly respected street-art movement in Norway, Nuart had previously never put their name to an event in Scotland before coming to Aberdeen.
Nuart’s general manager James Finucane said: “We had offers from lots of places across the UK, but the one that was right for us was for Aberdeen, because the focus was on the art and what the festival could bring, rather than on how to monetise or gentrify street art.”
During the festival, a survey found that 87% of visitors to Aberdeen said they would either definitely or very likely return to the city if the festival was repeated in 2018.
The success of the festival played a significant role in ensuring Aberdeen Inspired won the award in Berlin – and there is more good news to come.
Mr Watson said: “The award reinforces what the North-east public thought of the Nuart Aberdeen Festival.
“There is so much positivity and it was arguably one of the best street art festivals around the globe this year and something Aberdeen can be very proud of.
“We are very bullish about what we can do next year with Nuart.
“The discussions that we have had with Nuart are very positive and, next year, I’m sure we can bring a different slant, build on the quality and the colour and bring the best street artists to Aberdeen next year and the two years after that.
“It’s not just Nuart. We’re building on the comedy festival, the jazz festival to make it the best jazz festival in the country and the Great Aberdeen Run to make it better than last year.
“We’ve got Summer of Arts – there is a different slant on it this year. We’re conscious that the World Cup is on next year and we want to do something alongside that.”
Aberdeen Inspired has just appointed a night-time economy manager to boost the city’s bars and restaurant scene and it is also keen on making the most of the event space on Broad Street, establishing a film festival and a Summer of Sports project next year according to Mr Watson.
He added: “When you look at the comedy festival, the Christmas Village, the jazz festival and umpteen others, we’ve had a great run and there is so much to look forward in this city and Aberdeen Inspired will be right there.
“We want to get as many folk in here, spend a bit of time in Aberdeen – and spend their money here.”
Aberdeen Council leader,Councillor Jenny Laing said: “It’s really important that what is going on in Aberdeen is recognised internationally and the award was well deserved.
“Aberdeen Inspired have done a tremendous job over the last six years.”