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Head over heels for Glasgow

Press Release   •   Oct 23, 2015 11:27 BST

From Holland to Hong Kong, the United States to UAE, Glasgow is preparing to welcome an influx of international visitors ahead of one of the biggest sporting events to be held in the UK this year.

Almost a fifth of tickets for the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships, which takes place from today (23 October) to 1 November at the SSE Hydro Arena and The SECC, have been snapped up by overseas visitors.

VisitScotland hopes the ten-day competition will bring a significant economic boost to the city’s valuable tourism industry, as tens of thousands of supporters, as well as the world’s media, descend on Glasgow.

As one of the largest single sport events, the World Gymnastics Championships is set to showcase Glasgow to an even wider global audience than the Commonwealth Games. It is expected that the city accommodation sector, restaurant scene and visitor attractions could all benefit from the temporary increase in visitors.

Almost 600 gymnasts from 87 countries are set to compete in what is the main qualification event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. With an estimated global audience of around 800 million expected to watch the event on television.

Nearly half of the tickets have been bought by UK fans outwith Scotland, whilst America, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany make up the biggest markets for overseas tickets sales. However, a number of tickets have also been purchased by spectators from long-haul markets such as New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Brazil and less traditional markets such as Morocco, Taiwan and Trinidad and Tobago.

The competition has also captured the imagination of Scots with almost 12,000 tickets sold in Scotland.

The World Gymnastics Championships, which is supported by EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, marks the continuation of a golden era for sporting events in Scotland’s largest city with the XX Commonwealth Games, the Davis Cup semi-final, the IPC Swimming World Championships and the Glasgow European Open Judo all staged in the city in recent years, with more major events planned for 2016 and beyond.

Last year’s Commonwealth Games was praised for helping boost visitor numbers and enhancing the city’s global reputation for hosting world-class events.

In 2014, 622,000 trips were made to Glasgow by international visitors, an increase of around a fifth on the previous year. These visitors spent £245 million, up by a third on 2013.

Similarly, visits to Glasgow by those in the UK rose by 56 per cent in 2014, with more than 2.1 million trips made and a total of £442 million spent.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said:

“The World Gymnastics Championships is, without doubt, one of the most spectacular sporting events to be held anywhere in the UK this year.

“To have tens of thousands of visitors coming to Glasgow at what is traditionally a quieter time of the season is a gift for the city’s valuable tourism sector and a golden opportunity to promote its outstanding offering.

“With an annual value of £3.5 billion, Scotland is the perfect stage for events. These events play a key role in our success as a tourism destination by attracting more visitors, raising our international profile and generating hundreds of millions of pounds for the country’s vital visitor economy.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:

“Ticket sales have already surpassed those of any previous World Championships and we are delighted that we have now passed the 50,000 mark. It is particularly pleasing that we have sold 20 per cent of tickets to spectators from more than 48 countries, underlining the global importance of this event.

“The Championships will also be broadcast in the UK on BBC1 and BBC2 for the six days of finals (over 16 hours live) and will also be broadcast across the world in more than 73 countries by the FIG broadcast partners, including live in the USA, Germany, Netherlands, France, Russia, China, Japan and Brazil, with a total global audience anticipated in the region of 800 million. This will be a fantastic advert for Glasgow and Scotland, helping to drive tourism for many years to come.”

For more information about Glasgow, visit

Notes to Editors

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    • 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
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    Year of Food and Drink 2015

    • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
    • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
    • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
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