A Scottish Borders business has been cashing in on the opportunities presented by this unique year for Scottish tourism.
Borders Journeys, a company which brings numerous visitors to the region, has capitalised on Homecoming Scotland 2014 which is a year long coordinated programme of inspirational events.
The company has seen a significant increase of 120% in demand for ancestral tours as well as an increase of 100% in researching the ancestral heritage of clients. Most of the visitors this year are ‘homecomers’ researching their ancestral roots and have come from Australia, Canada and the USA.
Borders Journeys provide exclusive private and small group guided tours of Scotland. Their ancestral research services and tailor-made ancestral tours take visitors on a journey of discovery to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors. The company’s website welcomes visitors to Scotland with the line “there is no better year to visit and explore Scotland than in the year that we celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2014, a year-long celebration of all things Scottish.”
Tour operator, Ian Walker, downloaded the VisitScotland Homecoming Scotland 2014 toolkit at the end of 2013 and has made the most of the material made available by the tourism organisation for businesses. Ian also used the Homecoming logo on the front of his 2014 tour leaflet, which is in circulation in Edinburgh and Glasgow, including the Glasgow VisitScotland Information Centre during the Commonwealth Games.
Borders Journeys also provided an offer for the Commonwealth Games 2014 Media Offers Book being distributed to 1200 accredited media via VisitScotland’s Destination Media Hub at the Games.
By maximising upon the international platform this year’s Homecoming Scotland and the Commonwealth Games present, Ian has successfully grown his business and attributes a significant part of that to the joint international marketing effort.
Ian Walker of Borders Journeys said;
“This year has seen a massive increase in the amount of ancestral tours that we've organised as well as researching Scottish ancestral roots. So far we have organised twelve ancestral tours where nine groups of ‘homecomers’ have had ancestral roots in The Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway - we have another three booked in before the end of September.
“Throughout 2014 Borders Journeys will continue to support VisitScotland to promote both Scottish and local tourism during the year of Homecoming Scotland, which will in turn support my business’ continued growth.”
Paula McDonald, Regional Director of VisitScotland, said;
“Borders Journeys are an excellent example of Homecoming Scotland success. We have been marketing Scotland’s significant 2014 events - Homecoming Scotland, the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup, for well over a year to our international markets and tour operators such as Ian Walker have maximised upon the opportunity to great effect.”
Ian has dedicated a number of sections on his website to Homecoming and its associated events, with a page on the Return to the Ridings festival in the Borders, a Homecoming funded event, and a wider Homecoming blog page that includes a Homecoming banner, embedded videos of the VisitScotland Brilliant Moments and Homecoming TV adverts for 2014 and links to further information on the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup.
Throughout the year, Ian has kept the ‘news’ section of his website up to date with the latest on Homecoming events across the country, including signature event Bannockburn Live, Return to the Ridings and Scotland’s Whisky month to name a few.
Ian uses Borders Journeys Facebook and Twitter page @Bordersjourneys, which boasts over 1,200 followers, to post and retweet regular information on Homecoming and the major events taking place across Scotland this year.
For more information log onto www.bordersjourneys.co.uk
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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 has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- 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.
- 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to www.visitscotland.com
- The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
- 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
- For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to www.visitscotland.org/about_us/our_focus/annual_report.aspx