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Press Release   •   Jul 07, 2017 10:33 BST

Liz Stewart, Neil Cummings and Paula Bushell from Discover Scottish Gardens - one of the successful Growth Fund groups

There is still time for Scottish tourism groups to express their interest in applying for a match-funded grant of up to £40,000.

In 2016/17, the VisitScotland Growth Fund awarded grants totalling £341,440 to 13 groups around the country, which promoted everything from Scotland’s sailing industry and its public gardens to arts festivals and even pet-friendly accommodation.

The Growth Fund panel is scheduled to meet again in October, but constituted tourism groups must express their interest in applying for the next round of funding by Wednesday 19 July.

The national tourism organisation’s Growth Fund supports collaborative tourism marketing projects which focus on growth and ensure that visitors experience the true Spirit of Scotland. To be eligible for a Growth Fund award, applicants must place a strong emphasis on digital marketing and the creation of digital content assets. They are also encouraged to align themselves with Scotland’s themed years, including the 2017 Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology.

To celebrate the success of the fund and its impact on tourism, VisitScotland has produced a series of online videos and case studi which focus on successful applicants from around the country.

Discover Scottish Gardens, Scotland’s national tourism group promoting the rich diversity of the country’s horticulture, has received two Growth Fund awards of £30,000.

The awards, among numerous other benefits, allowed the organisation to double its membership and to showcase Scottish gardens and related businesses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Paula Bushell, Discover Scottish Gardens’ Director of Marketing, said: “We provide a platform for our members to share the wonderful horticultural array that Scotland has on offer all year round, as well as launching new festivals and events to celebrate the seasons. The VisitScotland Growth Fund has helped us to significantly raise our profile and to increase our digital reach. There was no way we could have delivered £60,000 worth of marketing without the Growth Fund and the amazing support from VisitScotland.”

Another group to benefit from a Growth Fund award is the Cairngorms Business Partnership, which works with around 340 local businesses to promote economic development within the national park.

A £35,000 award helped the group to create a year-long series of promotions, highlighting outdoor activities and destinations to key target audiences in Scotland’s cities.

Mark Tate, Chief Executive of Cairngorms Business Partnership, said: “We couldn’t have completed the digital aspects of the project without VisitScotland. It allowed us to expand our range of marketing activity and it would have been a far smaller campaign without VisitScotland’s support. It is this increased scale and quality that will ultimately lead to more visitors to the park.”

Susan Robertson, Senior Growth Fund Manager at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand.

The VisitScotland Growth Fund encourages businesses to work together and enhance the overall visitor experience through innovative digital marketing campaigns. I would encourage any group of Scottish tourism businesses, or even those who haven’t worked together before, to express their interest in applying for a VisitScotland Growth Fund award before the 19 July deadline.”

To express interest, go to:
To view the videos, go to:
For the online case studies, go to:


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:
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. 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
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. 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
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • 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 or join the conversation at #HHA2017