The red roofed cottage on the edge of Loch Shieldaig

A European-first collaboration between VisitScotland and TripAdvisor will see Scotland’s world-class tourism offering promoted to almost 70 million new potential visitors, generating a potential additional spend of £150 million.

The multi-year deal between VisitScotland and TripAdvisor – the world’s largest travel website with 390 million average unique monthly visitors – follows a successful pilot programme last year that highlighted the wonders of Scotland to the TripAdvisor travel community.

The First Minister announced the collaboration in New York at Carnegie Hall on the final day of her visit to the US where she was promoting Scotland as a place to do business.

Following the successful launch of VisitScotland’s first global brand campaign – the Spirit of Scotland – and investment in new technologies, TripAdvisor and VisitScotland will also collaborate on a joint marketing campaign in the UK.

In addition, Scotland has also been named the preferred “test partner” for new destination marketing products in Europe, allowing TripAdvisor and VisitScotland to work together to understand how the latest technology can be used to allow more people to discover Scotland.

TripAdvisor is the biggest tourism website in the world based on visitor’s real experiences. This partnership will give us the chance to learn from those at the forefront of innovation while inspiring millions of potential new visitors. This collaboration will help us put Scotland’s regions, cities and unique experiences on the world stage and to grow our tourism industry for future generations.

VisitScotland is discussing with TripAdvisor, among others, how they might help grow their social tourism programme, enabling disadvantaged families across the country to take a much needed break, ensuring that the economic benefits of tourism sustain and reach all parts of Scotland.

As an industry, tourism has so much more power to reach our customers now and, I believe, some way to go to before we realise our digital potential. This partnership with TripAdvisor is another significant step along that path.

What digital does today is speed up our ability to innovate and to grow our global share of the tourism market. We all need to be involved in this.

At VisitScotland, our investment in our digital strategy over the next 18 months will ensure that we use our talented team to their full effect. We will innovate and deliver in new ways to potential visitors and in doing so put Scotland ahead of the competition. Other recent examples include the launch of our successful Virtual Reality app which allows potential visitors to experience key attractions across Scotland whilst they are deciding on or planning their trip.

Scotland has always been a world leader in tourism so it is a natural progression for us to lead in the use of digital, reaching more visitors, keeping our country a leading visitor destination.