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Grand opening draws in the visitors

Press Release   •   Mar 15, 2018 12:53 GMT

Visitors to Glasgow had the chance to be part of a live art illustration today (Wednesday 14 March), as the city’s new VisitScotland iCentre officially opened its doors.

Glasgow illustrator Libby Walker, who is part of the national tourism organisation’s retail initiative, Shop Local, created a bespoke image of the city to celebrate the official opening by VisitScotland Chairman, Lord Thurso and Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life.

As part of the opening celebrations, visitors were also treated to a painting demonstration by artist Lilias Conroy, while fellow Shop Local businesses, Wee Fudge Company, skincare specialists Siabann, and catering company Wild Fig showed off their wares.

Piper Vito Fazzi welcomed visitors and guests as VisitScotland Chairman Lord Thurso cut a special cake to declare the information hub officially open.

Situated in a new permanent location on Buchanan Street - one of the UK’s highest footfall areas - the information hub features cutting edge technology that provides visitors with information to ensure they have the ultimate Glasgow and Scotland experience.

This innovative new centre also delivers our digital channels to visitors on their mobiles and tablets through the provision of free Wi-Fi.

Next to the south entrance to the Buchanan Street Subway, close to Queen Street and Central railway stations, the hub offers high quality face-to-face, printed and digital information.

The VisitScotland iCentre plays a gateway role, acknowledging that not just Glasgow, but the wider region can receive a major boost.

Replacing the site operating within the Gallery of Modern Art on Royal Exchange Square, the new location offers street level access and much larger space allowing the iCentre to expand its range of services.

This regional hub is part of a dynamic strategy to address the transformation in the way visitors access information on what to see and do while in the country.

Visitors will benefit from a significant increase in the number of channels providing content on places to visit and stay, with a mix of industry partners – through the VisitScotland Information Partner programme, Coo Vans and digital products sitting alongside the Buchanan Street iCentre, which will be one of 26 high footfall travel hubs in Scotland.

The opening comes at the start of a milestone year for Glasgow, with the European Championships taking place in August, the 150thanniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Glasgow International biennial, an expanded TRNSMT festival and the opening of new attractions such as the Clydeside Distillery all taking place during Scotland’s national Year of Young People.

By highlighting Glasgow’s fantastic cultural and sporting offering, as well as positioning the city as a gateway to Scotland, the new iCentre contributes significantly to the growth ambition of the Glasgow Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023. Launched in January 2017, the plan sets out a clear direction for building the city’s global profile as a successful tourism destination, with a focus on increasing leisure tourism.

Products sold in the iCentre are aligned with Shop Local, which offers the opportunity for Scottish artisans and small businesses to promote and sell their gifts and products via the VisitScotland iCentre network.

Other features include racking for literature, large scale wall graphics and regional and national wall maps to help visitors plan their journey. Accommodation booking services and ticketing services, enabling visitors to purchase tickets for visitor attractions, tours and public transport services operated by CalMac and CityLink, are also provided.

Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman, said: The creation of this VisitScotland iCentre, right in the heart of one of Glasgow’s busiest thoroughfares, reaffirms our commitment to providing visitors to the city with access to first-class information, inspiring them to stay longer, spend more and contribute to the vital visitor economy both in the city and wider region.”

“The way people access information is changing, which is why we are constantly working on our digital communications to ensure we reach visitors with inspirational and informative advice at every stage of their journey. However, we know that speaking to locals is also an important part of the visitor experience and something we want to continue at our 26 high footfall travel hubs, such as this new one in Glasgow.

With so much to look forward to in the city, this innovative hub comes at a very exciting time and will play an important role in delivering on the growth ambition of the Glasgow Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023.”

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said:Glasgow is an outstanding, must-visit destination for many tourists coming to Scotland so I’m delighted one of the busiest streets in the heart of the city will have this new hub to make the visitor experience even better.

“It will provide outstanding support and advice for people coming to Glasgow and Scotland to enjoy a truly memorable experience.”

Libby Walker, Shop Local illustrator, said: “It is great to be celebrating the official opening of the new Glasgow iCentre.

“I am really happy to be supporting this city centre hub as part of VisitScotland’s Shop Local initiative. It is an amazing place to have my illustrations available to tourists and locals a like.

“Creating a live illustration is a unique opportunity to capture the city’s vibrant and fast-paced nature. My designs celebrate the city from a contemporary viewpoint and today I will celebrate the iCentre and its new position on Buchanan Street."

For more details about visitor information at VisitScotland go to www.visitscotland.org/visitorinformation.aspx

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.