Liz Buchanan MBE, Regional Partnerships Director for VisitScotland, looks forward to what 2018 has to offer following a fantastic year for tourism in Stirling & Clackmannanshire.
“As we begin a new year, there is already a huge amount to look forward to for tourism in Stirling and the surrounding area. 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 the area.
“One of the most positive signs for the area’s visitor economy is the potential for new investment. Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. Work will continue this year on the Stirling & Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, which looks to position the area as an economic and cultural powerhouse.
“Our Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 was a great success for the area. From the iconic Stirling Castle to the mighty Alloa Tower, it shone a light on the area’s rich heritage and fascinating history, showcasing some of our best assets and uncovering hidden gems.
“It was great to see local events make the most of the themed year by joining the partner programme. The Great Big History weekend gave visitors to Stirling Castle the chance to meet the 16th century Queen of Scots, Mary of Guise, and try their hand at activities like calligraphy practice and hobby horse jousting, while the Clan Maclaren Splash of Tartan event in Callander was a wonderful occasion.
“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 the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam in Stirling.
“When talking about events, we are naturally drawn to the Special Olympics Anniversary Games which will be coming to Stirling University in August. This free to attend event will see around 1,200 athletes, 2,500 relatives and 400 coaches and officials come to Stirling to compete in sports like badminton, football, swimming and athletics, as well as celebrate the 40th birthday of Special Olympics GB and the 50 years since the founding of the worldwide movement. Along with top events like Mhor Festival, Bloody Scotland and Alva Games, these games will allow the area to continue to showcase itself, and Scotland, as the perfect stage.
“Throughout 2017, the ‘Outlander effect’ has continued to bring more and more visitors to Stirling and the trend shows every sign of continuing. Our Outlander Film Locations Map, featuring sites like Deanston Distillery and Loch Katrine, 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 Doune Castle enjoying an incredible 91.8% 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 Stirling’s fascinating history and heritage.
“Clackmannanshire made quite an impression on potential visitors last year with Discover Clackmannanshire’s digital marketing campaign. Supported by a £10,000 VisitScotland Growth Fund award, the campaign revamped the group’s website, created pages on Facebook, Instagram and twitter, and featured stunning new videos, interactive mapping and cycling and walking itineraries. It has been a huge success with almost 3,300 followers on Facebook and over 1,600 views on the videos.
“It was a year of accolades for rural Stirling with Lochend Chalets, Venacher Lochside, Mhor Festival and Loch Earn Tourism Information’s BLiSS Trail all winners at the Central East & Tayside Scottish Thistle Awards in November. These awards recognise the area’s tourism industry’s drive and passion for creating an unforgettable visitor experience, and I’m delighted that so many of our local heroes were recognised for their outstanding contributions. I wish them all the very best as they go forward to represent Stirling at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final this year.
“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 continued development of tourism in the area and I look forward to our work with businesses in the area this year to further enhance their visitor experience. 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 businesses in the area to our impressive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs), committed to providing local information to visitors. Stirlingshire now boasts 74 VIPs including Go Ape! In Aberfoyle and the Speirs Centre in Alloa. 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, alongside the Stirling iCentre.”
“Reflecting on a successful year really shows just how fantastic a tourism offering we have and one must also remember how important this is. 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 across the area 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.