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Meri-da Christmas Everybody!

Press Release   •   Dec 21, 2015 10:05 GMT

The terrestrial television premiere of Disney-Pixar’s Brave on BBC1 on Christmas Day could prove the perfect start to the New Year for some of Scotland’s most iconic visitor attractions, according to VisitScotland.

The Oscar-winning animation, which stars Kelly Macdonald as fiery redhead princess Merida, Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor and Billy Connolly as King Fergus, will be screened UK-wide immediately after the Queen’s Speech in a slot that traditionally attracts millions of viewers.

During production of the 2012 movie, Disney-Pixar animators visited a number of locations throughout Scotland, with the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis and Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, proving two of the biggest inspirations.

Every year, hundreds of Brave fans on Adventures by Disney’s official Scotland: A Brave Adventure tour descend on the Callanish Stones, which served as the template for the magical standing stones Merida encounters during the film.

Dunnottar, meanwhile, was the main inspiration for the princess’s spectacular clifftop home of Dunbroch. Having previously stood in for Elsinore in Franco Zefferrelli’s 1990 adaptation of Hamlet, the castle can currently be seen in cinemas in Victor Frankenstein, which stars James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. 

With families up and down the UK expected to gather round the television to enjoy the Scotland-based adventure on Christmas Day, the management of both popular attractions today revealed their hopes of a tourism boost in the New Year.

Angus Mackenzie, Manager of the Callanish Stones Visitor Centre, said: “There’s no doubt that the Callanish Stones were brought more into the public consciousness following the release of Brave. Even if just a fraction of the people who sit down to enjoy the film on Christmas Day decide to come and explore the Callanish Stones then that’s great news for us. We look forward to welcoming more visitors here when we re-open after the festive break on 5 January.”

Jim Wands, Custodian at Dunnottar Castle, said: “Our visitor numbers are going up year-on-year. We had nearly 90,000 visitors in the 2014-2015 period and we are on target for 2016. It's always great to see how filmmakers re-imagine our beautiful castle. The Christmas Day screening of Brave is a great way of introducing the film to new audiences and we hope it will inspire some of them to visit Dunnottar. They could even make it one of their New Year resolutions. After all, a walk to Dunnottar Castle is the perfect way to work off some of those festive calories!”


Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to see that BBC1 is screening Brave in such a prime slot on Christmas Day. Inspired by our stunning landscapes and some of our most iconic locations, it really is the perfect family movie. Set-jetting is a hugely popular pastime and I’m sure that watching this fantastic adventure unfold from the comfort of their sofas on 25 December will inspire families to come and explore the real Scotland for themselves.”

In 2012, VisitScotland teamed up with Disney to promote Scotland on the back of Brave. The national tourism organisation’s extensive overseas and domestic marketing campaign is estimated to have boosted the Scottish economy by around £120 million.

Brave is one of more than 100 movies to feature in VisitScotland’s guide, Set in Scotland: A Film Fan’s Odyssey. To view the guide online, go to http://www.visitscotland.com/ebrochures/en/set-in-scotland/

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
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • 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.
    • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy 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.
    • 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 events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com


    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
    • For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland