The gorge at Finnich Glen, also known as Devils Pulpit near Killearn Scotland. Scotland's Community flatwork.

Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs, sustains communities and provides an international shop window for Scotland.

Our industry also supports other important business sectors, including food and drink, textiles, retail and construction. We provide a ripple effect that is helping these, and many other sectors, flourish and that is why VisitScotland strives to keep Scotland, as a destination, out in front of our competitors. VisitScotland’s campaign, ‘The Spirit of Scotland’, is part of a series of initiatives that is fundamentally changing the way in which we market and present Scotland around the world, designed to deliver benefits way beyond traditional tourism sectors. It’s about building on the strong image Scotland already has and the reputation for success we built in 2014 when we delivered The Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup.

By engaging more than 130,000 people through #ScotSpirit, the social media element of our campaign, VisitScotland is taking Scotland to the world in a way not seen before, encouraging people from around the world to post digital content that shows their #ScotSpirit and, in doing so, help us excite people about Scotland and encourage them to visit. We’ve now extended this with a new online community platform, which is creating opportunities for more people – Scots and visitors alike – to share their experiences of our country exchanging knowledge in a way not possible before. Through their phones, tablets and laptops, they are working with us to help promote Scotland to millions of people around the world.

Our ultimate aim is to create as many advocates for Scotland as we can in order to broaden our reach and sphere of influence in a world where the way that visitors are researching and booking their trips is changing at an ever-increasing pace. The confidence and faith in Scotland as a brand and as a leading visitor destination is highlighted by the international partners we are working with. TripAdvisor, Google, NBC, The New York Times – to name but a few – all see the potential of the country and the draw it has for millions of visitors who come here each year.

The tourism industry has undoubted potential as an engine of economic growth. The industry in Scotland continues to outperform the rest of the economy and our neighbours in the UK but if we are to realise our full potential we must pull our collective assets in the public sector, the private sector and our globally recognised point of difference, our own people, if we are to succeed.

By bringing people and digital media together we are doing just this. Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain while the industry supports almost 200,000 jobs. VisitScotland is committed to extending this success story and ensuring our industry goes from strength to strength. By working closely with partners, we are delivering for Scotland.