Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs,Fiona Hyslop has officially opened a new VisitScotland iCentre, which is set to inspire visitors to extend their stay in the Highlands.
The flagship facility, which has relocated to Inverness High Street, will promote the tourism offering of the city, the wider Highland region and Scotland as a whole, highlighting exciting events, hidden gems and must-see attractions.
With the success of the North Coast 500, the regions links to smash-hit Outlander and events like the Mountain Bike World Cup, the Highlands has become an increasingly popular draw for visitors.
It is hoped the new iCentre location, which is closer to transport hubs, will encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more across the Highlands and Scotland.
Recent figures show that more than 2.2 million overnight trips were made to the Highlands in 2015/2016, contributing £705m to the local economy.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
“This new iCentre in Inverness emphasises the important role that VisitScotland has in supporting the needs of visitors to the Highlands.
“The city continues to attract record numbers of visitors. Latest figures from 2016 show that the number of international visitors to Inverness has increased by over 50% since 2011 and expenditure more than doubled in the same period. The latest domestic figures also show a rise.
“VisitScotland has developed a new facility that meets visitors’ needs – impressive imagery of the Highlands, key information on attractions, such as Loch Ness, and attentive and helpful staff.”
The new iCentre allows visitors to access advice on things to see and do, as well as book accommodation and tickets. Free Wi-Fi means that visitors can also view online content effectively while inside the centre.
With 142sq metres of floor space, the layout of the new centre is designed to manage the flow of people, and includes local and national wall maps to help visitors plan their journey.
Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman, said:“The creation of this VisitScotland iCentre reaffirms our commitment to providing visitors to the Highlands with access to first class information, inspiring them to stay longer, spend more and contribute to the vital visitor economy.
“Our iCentres remain at the heart of information delivery – we are focused on running the right centres in the right place, with the right look, employing the right people and delivering the right experience.
“However, the delivery of visitor information is changing and in Inverness as well as the wider Highlands region, we are working with a network of local ambassadors as part of our Visitor Information (VIP) Programme to ensure visitors can access quality information regardless of where they are. “
A number of suppliers will be selling their products within the iCentre as part of the new Shop Local retail initiative which offersthe opportunity for communities, local businesses, craft makers, artists, designers and others to promote and sell their products via the VisitScotland iCenre network. Local suppliers include Tain Pottery, Highland Crackers, Reids of Caithness, Asher’s Bakery and Hairy Coo. The centre will also stock Isle of Skye Sea Salt and Isle of Skye Fudge.
For more information on VisitScotland’s information provision strategy, please visit www.visitscotland.org
Notes to Editors
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
- Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
- Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
- Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
- Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
- To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
- The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh) 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
- 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017