THE beautiful scenery and breathtaking wildlife footage have captivated millions and now VisitScotland wishes to turn TV viewers into tourists.
A £50,000 tourism campaign is to be launched following the success of the recent BBC series Hebrides: Islands on the Edge.
VisitScotland is to use the popularity of the four-part documentary series, which focused on the wildlife and conservation work in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, to boost visitor numbers to the islands during the autumn.
The documentary series, made by Maramedia and Otter Films, featured stunning high- definition footage of the islands wildlife, such as eagles, otters and stags, and was narrated by Ewan McGregor, the Scots actor and Hollywood movie star who was persuaded to take part in the project because of the strength of the footage of his native Scotland. The new advertising campaign hopes to persuade many of the two million viewers who watched the series on BBC 2 to visit the islands between September and November, which has become an increasingly popular time for tourists seeking a short autumnal break.
Some of the footage from the TV series already forms part of VisitScotland’s Year of Natural Scotland television adverts, which are shown around the world.
The promotional campaign for the Hebrides will target potential visitors in the rest of Scotland and the north of England through adverts and travel promotions.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland said: “The Inner and Outer Hebrides have given a wonderful backdrop for our Year of Natural Scotland 2013 campaign, which has been boosted enormously by the programme. We know that scenes from TV and film have direct impact on visitors’ potential holiday destinations, and our activity over the coming weeks seeks to capitalise on this.”
The last episode was watched by more than two million people in the UK.
Nigel Pope, executive producer of the programme, said: “A growing awareness of how important the islands are to wildlife and conservation is a very positive outcome of the series. If more people visit the Islands to see the wonderful wildlife at first hand, that has to be good for the Hebrides.
“We are now also looking forward to distributing the series internationally with ITVGlobal who will also be working closely with VisitScotland in taking the programmes to tourism and programming markets across the world.”
The Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is a marketing campaign designed to highlight to potential visitors the vast array on offer in Scotland, from the rugged scenery of the Highlands and the splendour of the national parks to the freshness of the natural larders. Tourism currently contributes £11 billion to the Scottish economy.