Visitors to Aberdeenshire are set to receive the ‘VIP’ treatment, following the announcement of a new partnership between VisitScotland, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
VisitScotland has begun work on a pilot project with the two organisations, which will see staff provide face-to-face visitor information at 13 popular castles and other attractions, reaching an additional 150,000 visitors a year.
The sites, which include the NTS castles of Crathes, Fyvie and Drum and the HES properties Duff House, Huntly Castle and Tolquhon Castle, will become the first in an exclusive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs).
The VIP programme forms part of VisitScotland’s new focus on information which also includes a new global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of our country.
Entitled ‘iKnow Scotland’, the new online and face-to-face community will give businesses, industry and visitors the tools to enable them to share the Spirit of Scotland with others.
Staff at the Aberdeenshire properties already provide information and inspiration to visitors by actively promoting their local area and the services offered by local businesses. The new official accreditation will add value to the service they offer and make it easier than ever before for visitors to connect with local businesses.
The VIP programme ties in with VisitScotland’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign, harnessing the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of staff at the attractions helping visitors make the most of their trip to Scotland.
VisitScotland will provide the partner sites with official signage and collateral, promotional material and information resources to make sure visitors receive first-class information about Aberdeenshire and about Scotland as a whole.
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland’s Regional Director for Aberdeen City & Shire, said:
"The VIP service in Aberdeenshire recognises the role staff at these popular NTS and HES properties already play in promoting their local area and we are looking forward to working with them on this exciting initiative.
“There’s no doubt that the way in which visitors access information has changed dramatically over recent years and we are always reviewing how we deliver information to ensure that we are responding to this and meeting the needs of our visitors.
“With a total of 1,250,000 trips made to Aberdeen City and Shire in 2014, this region is a magnet for tourists. This pilot project aims to ensure those visitors receive the best local information from a variety of providers, including staff at NTS and HES properties.
“The new VIP programme will ensure that all tourism providers can be local ambassadors and help provide information, assistance and advice on all there is to see and do here.”
Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, said:
“We’re extremely pleased to be partnering with VisitScotland on this exciting new initiative which will see the staff at five of our iconic visitor attractions, throughout Aberdeenshire, participate in the VisitScotland Information Partner programme.
“With a focus on the wider local area and what else it has to offer, the support provided as part of this new accredited service will help further strengthen and enhance the overall visitor experience that our staff at sites including Duff House, Huntly and Corgarff Castles, among others, already provide.
“We look forward to working with VisitScotland, over the coming year, to help deliver this innovative new information service.”
Connie Lovel, the National Trust for Scotland’s Assistant Director (North) said:
“We are delighted to be participating in this initiative. Aberdeenshire is home to so many excellent and varied activities and attractions and all are within easy reach of one another. As ambassadors for the region, our teams on the ground already share their vast local knowledge, helping to ensure visitors get the best experience possible.
“This new accredited service supported by VisitScotland provides a helpful framework and recognises the significant contribution our visitor attraction teams make to Aberdeenshire’s economic wellbeing.
“After the fabulous experience they will have at Crathes, we can direct visitors to other local businesses and venues where they will find great food, great shopping and a great time - as well as a few more fascinating NTS properties.
“This exciting new and valuable visitor information service provides additional positive support and recognition for our teams and we look forward to rolling this initiative out to other National Trust for Scotland properties in Aberdeenshire.
The VisitScotland Information Partner programme is open to all Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises.
To find out more about the VisitScotland online community, visit:
Caption: Pictured (L-R) are: Morag Craib, HES steward; Bill Brown, Membership Recruiter for NTS (North-East); and Pat Richard, Visitor Services Advisor, VisitScotland.
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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’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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- 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
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
- 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.
- 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.
- The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
- 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 Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016
- 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- Join the conversation at #IAD2016
- Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting http://www.eventscotland.org/YIAD_partner_programme