As the national tourism organisation, VisitScotland is in a unique position to capitalise on and enhance Scotland’s global profile, highlighting to the world all that the country has to offer.
In rebuilding post-COVID-19 we want to make sure tourism is resilient, responsible and brings benefits to Scotland’s economy and communities. None of this is possible without an international outlook and collaboration at home and abroad.
In the business events sector, Scotland is leading a global change in the perception of conferences and meetings, as shown by COP26 in Glasgow last year.
Bringing significant spend of almost £2 billion per annum into the visitor economy, business events are also catalysts for economic and social progress. They can provide forums for the world’s experts to convene in Scotland and make progress on issues of national or global importance.
Collaborating with city convention bureaus, major venues and academic centres of excellence around Scotland we work to secure conferences aligned to Scotland’s key policy areas, Scotland’s National Performance Framework and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Our Journey to Change campaign markets Scotland as a place to hold change-making business events, supported by sales and marketing activity that ensures Scotland is front of mind for the global business events marketplace.
Internationally, profile raising and marketing activity help us attract vital overseas visitors, who stay for longer and spend more. In 2019, Scotland welcomed 3.5 million international visitors who generated 43% of the total tourism spend that year.
That’s why our £7.2m international Scotland is Calling campaign is central to VisitScotland’s recovery support activity. The campaign reaches across 11 priority markets including the US, France and Germany, helping Scotland standout in a competitive marketplace.
Since it launched in September 2021, Scotland is Calling has delivered some outstanding results, driving interest in and bookings for Scotland. We’ve had 100m completed views of video content and thanks to 19 content and media partnerships, people have read nearly 35,000 hours’ worth of content about Scotland.
Throughout the pandemic and early stages of recovery, we’ve continued to engage with international travel trade. This year, our Discover Scotland event included a virtual forum to connect Scottish industry with international buyers. The event linked up 304 Scottish suppliers with 298 buyers, generating 4,455 meetings over the three-day programme.
As we look to long term recovery, a responsible tourism focus will support the future success and sustainability of our industry. Work with other national tourism organisations around the globe has helped accelerate this, by learning from best practice elsewhere and informing our own approach to sustainable development.
Likewise, Scotland’s strong global reputation is reflected in the tourism organisations across the world that seek us out as exemplars in a range of areas of destination development.
Such collaboration will remain important as we continue to showcase Scotland on the world stage, supporting the recovery of our industry, enhancing our international reputation and driving the economic and social benefits of tourism for Scotland.