Regional tourism promoted at major event

Stonehaven’s Dalriada Luxury Lodges, the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Braemar Castle and Maryculter House were amongst tourism businesses that represented Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire at Scotland’s biggest business-to-business event for the travel trade.  
VisitScotland’s Director of Marketing, Vicki Miller at the event.VisitScotland’s Director of Marketing, Vicki Miller at the event.
VisitScotland’s Director of Marketing, Vicki Miller at the event.

Held at P&J Live in Aberdeen on 19 and 20 April, VisitScotland Connect offered Scottish tourism businesses the chance to show their products and services directly to buyers from the UK, USA, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific.

The two-day event was created to help the country’s valuable tourism industry reach visitors in new markets, in turn increasing international demand for Scotland’s diverse tourism offering.

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More than 15 businesses from the region met with some of the 250+ global tour operators, travel agents and destination management companies, from 23 countries.

Over 6,000 meetings took place across the two days, as well as a programme of day and evening networking opportunities.

Since the pandemic, visitors have been seeking extra reassurance and guidance offered by tour operators and travel agents.

With more than half of international visitors using travel intermediaries to plan and book, VisitScotland Connect forms part of the national tourism organisation’s strategy to bring visitors to Scotland throughout the year.

While in Scotland, as part of a special programme of ‘familiarisation’ trips, these international buyers were also able to travel around the country to sample, in person, the scenery, hospitality, produce and attractions of many regions and destinations.

There were 108 buyers on the programme, with the 13 trips showcasing 170 businesses and covering 20 regions.

They touched on all corners of Scotland taking in experiences like outdoor activities, iconic locations and landmarks, luxury experiences, island trips, food and drink, film and literature, farms and textiles, nature and wildlife and Scotland’s cities.

In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, locations visited included Pitmedden Garden, Glen Garioch Distillery, Barra Castle, Kincardine Castle, Provost Skene’s House, Aberdeenshire Highland Beef Farm, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Banchory Lodge Hotel, NTS Drum Castle’s Jacobite tour, Scotbeer tours, Ardoe House and the Gordon Highlanders Museum, amongst others.

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David Jackson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “Once again, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire tourism businesses came together to showcase this wonderful region to a global audience.

"I know colleagues and representatives of our wider tourism industry relished the opportunity to meet and do business in person once again and there was a real buzz at the event.  

“VisitScotland Connect provided Scottish businesses with a fantastic opportunity to engage with tour operators and suppliers from all over the UK and overseas.

It is crucial that we work together to rebuild Scotland’s valuable tourism industry and I was delighted to see such commitment from related businesses in the region. 

“Partnership and collaboration are at the heart of Scottish tourism and VisitScotland works with local industry to develop and deliver initiatives that grow the visitor economy. 

“The event reflected our focus on responsible tourism, highlighting businesses with sustainable and inclusive practices.   

“VisitScotland supports the tourism industry in its aspirations to internationalise and to attract business and revenues from international markets in 2023 and beyond.”   

Kelly McAlpine, Managing Director of Dalriada Luxury Lodges, said: “Our attendance at VisitScotland Connect was very productive.

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"We attended the previous live shows in Glasgow as well as the virtual versions during Covid times and have always been delighted with the quality of the buyers which the event attracts.

“We have made lasting connections with the travel trade and secured international bookings for Dalriada that would have been impossible without the exposure that Connect has given us.

“It also provided us with an ideal opportunity to network with like-minded Scottish business owners in a well-organised setting.”