Liz Buchanan MBE, Regional Partnerships Director for VisitScotland, looks forward to what 2018 has to offer following a fantastic year for tourism in Falkirk.
“As we begin a new year, there is already a huge amount to look forward to for tourism in Falkirk. We’ll remember 2017 for some standout events and innovative marketing activity, which we’ll be building on in the year ahead to make sure 2018 is another big success for Falkirk.
“One of the most positive signs for Falkirk’s visitor economy is the level of new investment in the area. Our reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. In Falkirk, we have not one, but two new distilleries currently in development, which once complete, will provide a strong draw for visitors.
“Our Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 was a great success for Falkirk. From the Kelpies to Kinneil Museum, it shone a light on the area’s rich heritage and fascinating history, showcasing some of our best assets and uncovering hidden gems.
“Falkirk hosted two of the Year’s signature events. On World Heritage Day, Picts chased down Romans over a 5k race along the Antonine Wall, before a Great Roman Bake Off was enjoyed by runners and spectators alike. September saw HorsePower, a celebration of Scotland’s equine heritage, come to The Helix Park. It was also great to see local events make the most of the year by joining the partner programme. The Big Roman Week and the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema will live long in the memory.
“This year marks the Year of Young People which will inspire Scotland through its youth aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally. Central to the year will be a celebratory events programme which will include Futureproof and Science in the Park in Falkirk. These events mean that Falkirk is writ large in the tourism marketing effort of the themed Year.
“Throughout 2017, the ‘Outlander effect’ has continued to bring more and more visitors to Falkirk and the trend shows every sign of continuing. Our Outlander Film Locations Map, featuring attractions like Callendar House and Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, has also been very popular with over 50,000 downloads. Visitor figures have shown substantial increases in footfall at attractions featured in the series, with Blackness Castle enjoying an incredible 85.5% increase in visitor numbers since the show first aired. With the third season aired in September last year, I’m sure we will see many more set-jetters coming to experience Falkirk’s fascinating history and heritage.
A highlight of last year’s marketing for Falkirk was a project run by Falkirk Delivers, in partnership with Falkirk Council, Scottish Canals, Falkirk Community Trust and a number of local businesses, which we were delighted to support with an award of £18,300 from the VisitScotland Growth Fund. The initiative produced three online video itineraries highlighting things to see and do in the area themed on cycling, heritage and family fun, part of a campaign designed to capitalise on the surge in the number of day visitors coming to Falkirk to see The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel. It has been a huge success with the three films receiving an impressive 1,114,678 views, reaching 717,636 people.
“These videos also formed a core part of our autumn marketing in partnership with Falkirk Council, a campaign which used Facebook to promote the videos and other Falkirk content to visitors and direct them to visitfalkirk.com. The campaign smashed its targets, engaging with over a quarter of a million people.
“We’re now working together on a new phase of activity for this spring, again using elements of the videos, this time as part of a fun new interactive map of Falkirk. The online map allows visitors to click on graphics of the area’s attractions, walks, restaurants and more, emphasizing the huge range of things to see and do in Falkirk.
“We worked with local businesses on a pilot project for a tourism industry barometer - a survey monitoring sentiment within the local tourism sector. This first barometer showed high levels of business confidence in the area, with 54 per cent reporting plans for significant investment in the near future. This is very encouraging for the Falkirk Tourism 2020 strategy which aims to make Falkirk a destination of first choice for high, quality, value for money and world class attractions offering memorable customer experiences, delivered by skilled and passionate people. Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and I look forward to our continued work with local industry to achieve this vision and grow the area’s visitor economy.
“This year we welcomed many more Falkirk businesses to our impressive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs), committed to providing local information to visitors. Falkirk now boasts 12 VIPs including the Kelpies at Helix Park, Bo’ness Motor Museum amd the Howgate Shopping Centre. These partners, as well as our Coo Vans and a range of digital products, are part of a significant increase in the number of channels providing visitor information, sitting alongside The Falkirk Wheel Visitor Centre, which will be run by Scottish Canals.
“Reflecting on a successful year really shows the quality and diversity of the Falkirk tourism and serves as a reminder of how important it is to the local economy. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change. I look forward to another great year for tourism in Falkirk and all the benefits that come with it.”
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 five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
- 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
- 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)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
2018 Year of Young People
- The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
- The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
- Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
- Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
- The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
- oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
- oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
- oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
- oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
- oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
- oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
- Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.