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Looking ahead to the season

Press Release   •   Apr 19, 2017 13:18 BST

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director

The opening of a new heritage tourist trail in Elgin, a two-day country fair and an annual whisky festival are amongst events taking place in Moray Speyside this year.

The tourism season will soon be getting underway in Moray Speyside once again, with a wide range of activities, things to see and do and fresh, locally-sourced food and drink on offer.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said she was looking forward to another fantastic year: “As we quickly progress towards the new season, we have much to be excited about.

“With 2017 being the themed year for History, Heritage and Archaeology, Moray Speyside is poised to take advantage of a busy summer, with some key heritage attractions in Elgin and the surrounding area.

“Just recently, the Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere tourist trail was officially by HRH Princess Anne bringing to life over 1,000 years of history, including controversial characters such as the Wolf of Badenoch.”

Elgin Museum has also launched a new programme of events and activities, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Stories, Stones and Bones initiative. The programme will celebrate some of Moray Speyside's lesser known archaeological and historic treasures through a series of hands-on activities, training events, exhibitions, talks and walks, culminating in an archaeology conference in November. Running alongside will also be a range of family drop-in craft sessions, where little visitors can try their hand at designing their very own Pictish stone.

Jo said: “I’m looking forward to taking my family to Piping at Forres for the first time. This year, a new walking app has been introduced to encourage visitors to explore Forres and some of the top sights in the area. We are trying to be as active as possible over the summer so any opportunity to get outdoors is welcome – and a visit at the time of the festival will be so exciting for my children.

“Gordon Castle, at Fochabers, has extended its Highland Games this year into a two-day event on 20 and 21 May, featuring a country fair both days and Highland Games on the Sunday. With a vintage 1900-1940 theme, I’ll be closely following the social media posts to see everyone’s outfits!

“I’m also hoping to attend the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. I was at last year’s event and it is always so inspiring to see people coming together from all over the world to celebrate and appreciate our water of life!

The tourism horizon in Moray Speyside – and indeed Scotland – is constantly changing and VisitScotland has positively responded to the change in the way in which visitors are accessing information and inspiration about their holiday, as well as the welcome they receive when arriving in Scotland.

Jo said:We have been working with businesses in the tourism industry over the last year or more to take advantage of advances in digital technology and while there is still a lot of work to do, we are pleased with the number of businesses signing up to schemes such as the VisitScotland Information Partner scheme and digital training opportunities.

“The way we market Moray Speyside is also changing. With the huge reach potential of digital and social media, we will be focusing on producing digital content for uploading to major media resources including Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and Instagram. This gives us a huge opportunity to build joint resources which can be used by the industry and provides a much greater reach than was ever thought possible by traditional means.”

Other events taking place this season include Moray Walking and Outdoor Festival in June and the Speyfest annual Celtic music festival in July - offering three days of the best in traditional and contemporary Celtic music in a tented village in the heart of Fochabers.

International travel agents will be able to sample the best of Moray Speyside at VisitScotland Expo on 26th and 27th April, led by the destination organisation Moray Speyside Tourism.

Jo said: “I am delighted that Laurie Piper and his team at Moray Speyside Tourism will be leading the largest delegation of businesses from the region that we have ever seen at Expo – I am certain the travel trade will be captivated by the quality and charm of Moray Speyside’s tourism offering.”

Moray Speyside is ideal for outdoor activities including cycling, walking, fishing, golf and water-based activities. From the adrenaline rush of mountain-biking amidst spectacular scenery and stunning views to the meandering exploration of peaceful forest tracks, and from the exhilaration of white-water rafting to the relaxation of the golf course, the region provides a range of options to suit all abilities and interests.

Jo added: “I’ll be spending several weekends camping and will look forward to dolphin-spotting on the coast and mountain biking in the Cairngorms National Park.

“I am very much looking forward to the coming season and I trust that both industry and visitors will be delighted with the opportunities afforded to them throughout the coming year.”

Notes to Editors

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  • 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
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    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
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    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 visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017