City and business leaders have claimed more needs to be done to protect and enhance Aberdeen’s night-time economy from outdated perceptions.
Dozens of people gathered at an inaugural UK event to discover how a thriving night-time economy can lead to a vibrant city centre.
But those at the night-time economy conference in Aberdeen heard that in order to enhance the sector – which generates around £70 billion for the UK economy and employs in excess of 1.3 million people – more needs to be done to tackle the stigma which often accompanies it.
Ojay McDonald, chief executive of the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), was one of the speakers during the event at Brewdog Castlegate.
He said: “There is actually not a lot of research out there that shows you the potential of the night-time economy and it is not something that is always recognised for it’s benefit to the economy.
“There is a perception of a lot of drunk people lying about all over the place and that is something that we have to do.
“Historically it has been seen a sector that has to be managed and suppressed and we are still at that place. We are having to fight to make a vibrant night time economy and that’s a challenge we face every day.
“If you think about what we can all bring; food and drink, pubs and bars, early evening activities, arts and culture, street art and festivals – all of these things make it fantastic.”
Nicola Johnston, night time economy manager at Aberdeen Inspired added: “We are a sector that contributes around £70 billion to the economy, stimulates creativity and entrepreneurship and attracts business.
“But we are heavily regulated, which is almost to the point of stifling out potential. This also creates a barrier of fear. We need to work together in order to put Aberdeen on the map and make it the perfect location to live, work visit and play.”
Delegates were also told that Aberdeen is leading the way in the UK in efforts to promote the city centre night life.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Aberdeen is following in the footsteps of the likes of Berlin, Vienna, Sydney and Florida who have all realised how important it is to capitalise on the night-time economy and have appointed someone to manage that sector.”
Aberdeen Inspired nights was launched on May 18 to try to boost the sector and allow people to explore the city’s nightlife in a way which has never been done before.
Special events which mix art, music and entertainment with food and drink offers are available at venues around the city until Sunday.Press & Journal23rd May 2018