As Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive, VisitScotland, sees it: “Domestic visitors have been driving the recovery following the impact of COVID-19, but the return of our international visitors is a major step towards the responsible recovery of Scottish tourism.”
And that’s exactly what the recent Discover Scotland: Reconnect event was all about.
Discover Scotland: Reconnect 2022 is part of VisitScotland’s activity to rebuild international tourism demand, as well as supporting the country’s ambitions to be a leading destination for responsible tourism.
During that event, Scottish tourism businesses were able to engage directly with tour operators, travel advisors and Destination Management Companies representing key global markets to drive bookings from visitors from abroad once again.
In all, 324 Scottish businesses engaged with 298 international tour operators and travel agents from 21 global markets at the three-day online event.
In all, 4,455 meetings were facilitated on the virtual platform through 1-2-1 meetings, highlighting the best of Scotland’s responsible tourism products.
17 of the buyers were representing the market in Canada.
While inbound travel accounts for a fifth of all visitors to Scotland, it provides more than 40% of the overall spending. In 2019, there were 125,000 visits from Canada and spend was £92 million.
Roughead pointed out that: “Discover Scotland 2022 enables Scottish businesses to connect with key buyers from around the globe to help attract visitors, from near and far, to help rebuild Scotland’s valuable tourism industry.”
He continued: “As well as the economic benefits of engaging with global markets, Discover Scotland was a hugely enjoyable week in terms of reconnecting with colleagues and customers from around the world. We look forward to sharing our stunning landscapes, history, culture and warm welcome with visitors this summer and beyond.”
Robert Miller, Product Manager for Goway Travel, based in Canada, pointed out that: “Events like Discover Scotland 2022 are critical in our industry’s recovery. It is great to discuss opportunities, operational challenges, and to learn about all the excellent and innovative ideas, activities and updates that have come about over the last two years.”
And Miller noted that: “It has been great to reconnect with existing partners to plan and prepare for the many travellers that are quickly gearing up for their long overdue trips abroad! It’s shaping up to be a busy summer; finally.”
Idy Davidson, Sales & Marketing Pioneer, Dark Sky Spirits based in Moffat observed that: “It was a pleasure to attend the Discover Scotland event to promote the new Moffat Distillery to worldwide buyers by a very well-organized online meeting system organized by VisitScotland giving us the opportunity to interact with travel trade colleagues. Roll on face-to-face meetings in the future.”
While Nell Nelson, Owner, Edinburgh Food Safari said: “Discover Scotland was a wonderful platform for me as a small unique tour operator in Edinburgh to be able to meet and talk – albeit remotely- to so many travel operators who were interested in my food walking classes and cookery classes.”
And Nelson added: “I hope I will get some bookings for 2022 and also for 2023, but it was great to make the connection.”