Following a stop in NYC, representatives from across Scotland were in Toronto last night (Oct. 24) to showcase some of the unique visitor experiences, attractions and hotels that await in the destination.
“As part of VisitScotland’s international engagement, each year we take a delegation of businesses to North America to meet with North American tour operators and travel agents to encourage new itinerary development to help encourage more Canadians to visit Scotland,” Keith Campbell, market manager – Canada & Golf, visitor marketing for VisitScotland told PressToday. “This time we have a delegation of 16 Scottish businesses with us, some known to the Canadian market but with new products to update and encourage future sales, and also new suppliers who are actively seeking to work with Canadian trade partners.”
Geared at tour operators and travel agents who are actively selling Scotland, as well as those looking to include Scotland in future itinerary development, Campbell said the delegation consisted of suppliers offering unique visitor experiences that resonate with North American visitors.
Canadian visits to Scotland have shown a steady increase over the past five years, with the most recent arrival figures indicating a 10% increase over the previous year with 131,000 visitors.
VisitScotland has launched a new creative campaign called Only in Scotland, which highlights some of the things that set Scotland apart as a destination.
“For those of you that have been to Scotland, I’m sure you will all have that special memory of when the light hit the landscape in a magical way, unfolding an amazing view that will stay with you forever; or a time when the hairs on the back of your neck stood up as you followed in the footsteps of your ancestors – touching ancient stones that they would have touched – whether that be a gravestone, castle or standing stones like Claire in Outlander; or even a time when a total stranger came up to you to share a story about the place you’re visiting – as you know, we Scots love a blether – even if it can be a challenge to understand us sometimes,” he said. “We’re calling these our ‘Only in Scotland’ experiences – and this will form the backbone of our creative messaging over the coming year. We’ll be gathering together the hundreds of Only in Scotland moments to share with you, to share with your clients.”
Here’s a look at the suppliers on hand for the roadshow:
- The Black Watch Castle & Museum (represented by Linda Campbell) – located in the city of Perth, it brings to life the history of Scotland’s oldest Highland regiment.
- Visit Cairngorms & Cairngorms National Park, represented by Jenny Sime – one of two destination groups taking part in the event, the Park is situated in the Highlands of Scotland, and is the UK’s largest National Park, 10 times the size of New York City.
- Caledonian MacBrayne, represented by Ian Fox – the largest ferry operator in the UK, operating 30+ vessels over 27 routes throughout the west coast of Scotland connecting communities to mainland Scotland.
- Diageo Discovering Distilleries, represented by Mary Jane Brett – is the leading provider of whisky attractions with 12 distillery visitor centres located across Scotland with an exciting new development to ask about for 2020.
- Fonab Castle Hotel, represented by Fiona Gray – Nestled in Highland Perthshire, the 5-gold star castle hotel offers guests a personal service with a mixture of traditional and contemporary. Guests can enjoy relaxed dining, three rosette gourmet dining and relaxing time in a notable spa.
- Kingsmills Hotel Group, represented by Joyce Arbuckle – will be a collection of three luxury hotels in the city of Inverness. The 4-star Kingsmills & 5-star Ness Walk will be joined in 2021 by the 4-star KIN Hotel.
- Luss Estates, represented by Julie Bowyer – a 45,000-acre estate just 35 minutes from the city centre of Glasgow, which includes the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel amongst other accommodation and activities.
- Macdonald Hotels, represented by Susan Minto – a collection of unique 4-star hotels throughout Scotland, from countryside settings to city locations.
- The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, represented by Janette Napier – situated on the beautiful Isle of Islay, set within a picture-perfect location boasts direct access to a 7-mile long sandy beach and of course, there’s a whisky or two to be sampled.
- Mercat Tours, represented by Fiona Daglish, offer award-winning history and ghost tours of Edinburgh established in 1985. The business is the first walking tour company to be accredited with 5-stars from VisitScotland, an award they have achieved 15 years consecutively.
- Mharstanta Restaurant & Bar, represented by Sophie Mallon, is a restaurant in the heart of the Merchant City in Glasgow serving up home-cooked, locally sourced Scottish cuisine. Enquire about their Trad Trail Experience and Beer Pairing menus that are available.
- Midlothian & Borders Tourism Action Group, represented by Yvonne Wagoun, mark the 2nd destination group taking part in the show. The region lies between the north of England and Edinburgh and is famed for textiles, big houses and the Borders Reivers. There is much to experience, off the beaten track, from coast to countryside.
- The National Trust for Scotland, represented by Sandrine Contier-Lawrie. Scotland’s largest Conservation charity, responsible for over 60 of Scotland’s finest historic attractions from Castles, gardens and battlefields to coastlines, wilderness and wildlife. NTS offers a wide range of unique experiences and behind the scene tours as well as a one-stop-shop service.
- One Devonshire Gardens by Hotel Du Vin, represented by Emily Williamson, is a stunning boutique hotel, set in a tree-lined Victorian terrace in the fashionable West End of Glasgow just 30 minutes from Loch Lomond.
- Rabbies Tours, represented by Karin Gidlund, is an award-winning scheduled day and extended tours of Scotland using 16-seat luxury coaches, with additional services exclusively to the trade including rail tours, event packages, city breaks, self-drives. What’s more, you book, you go as they offer guaranteed departures.
- Thirlestane Castle, represented by Rhona Jamieson – a stunning castle set in the heart of the Scottish Borders, offering exclusive luxury stays, high-end dining experiences and a variety of events. It’s the ancestral home to the Earls and Duke of Lauderdale and the Maitland family who still live there today.