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Orcadians want to 'See you for the Weekend'

Press Release   •   Sep 20, 2018 13:49 BST

John Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman; Kate Lewington, CEO of Destination Orkney; Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive and James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council.

A campaign to promote short breaks to Orkney during the quieter, off-peak months, has been given a cash boost thanks to £30,000 of VisitScotland Growth Funding.

The funding announcement, which will help launch Destination Orkney’s See You for the Weekend campaign, is being made as members of the VisitScotland Board meet in Orkney. As part of the Engagement Strategy of the VisitScotland Board, their meeting in Kirkwall is one in a series which will be held across the country this year.

The tour allows the Chairman, John Thurso, and the Board members to hear directly from industry stakeholders to gain a better understanding of both positive developments in the regions and any challenges facing the industry. VisitScotland CEO Malcolm Roughead also attended.

Destination Orkney, the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for the islands, will launch its See You for the Weekend campaign in October, the aim of which is to extend the current season by encouraging short breaks during quieter periods.

The £30,000 Growth Fund cash is being matched by £15,000 from Destination Orkney’s own funds and the same from Orkney Islands Council, to give them a total budget of £60k.

Destination Orkney is a dynamic new partnership body created in June to help boost and responsibly manage tourism in Orkney. Principal partners include Orkney Islands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland, Historic Environment Scotland, and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Kate Lewington, CEO of Destination Orkney, says it had been a long-standing aim of the industry to extend the season. At their most recent industry summit, the 100 participants in attendance identified extending the season as a top priority for action and this project comes in response to that.

The campaign will address common misconceptions that Orkney is full during June, July and August (when accommodation occupancy, footfall at visitor attractions and demand on transport links is high) and closed during the autumn, winter and spring when trade is much slower.

By developing interest in October and April, Destination Orkney believes trade will spread into the autumn and spring respectively.

They want to communicate the experiences visitors can enjoy at these times of year, when there are fewer people around and a more relaxed pace can be enjoyed - true to Orkney’s beautiful, mystical and peaceful profile.

The campaign aims to inspire visitors through a storytelling narrative, including five downloadable and mobile-friendly, themed itineraries and a series of short films capitalising on Orkney’s heritage, natural environment, food and drink offer and creativity.

Cheryl Chapman, VisitScotland’s Development Manager for Orkney, said: “I am delighted that Destination Orkney has been successful in its Growth Fund application to help extend the season into those shoulder months.

“This is the first application we have had from Orkney in a long time and the money will help market Orkney in a new way. It will also provide an opportunity to develop some great content that will live on beyond the campaign and be available for partners and others to use.

“The campaign offers buy in from tourism businesses who will be invited to provide seasonal offers.”

“It is fantastic that this announcement is being made as the Board members visit Orkney and our tourism sector enters a new era, with aspirations for a collaborative approach to destination management and development.”

In the 2017 Islands Visitor Survey, produced by VisitScotland in partnership with Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), 64% of those surveyed said that Orkney’s scenery and landscape was their main reason to visit, 62% said history and culture, 40%had an interest in archaeology and 35%wanted to visit a particular attraction.

The creativity of Orcadians expressed in the quality food and drink produce and, in the arts and crafts, is part of what gives the islands their appeal. As the weather during the off-season months can be a little unpredictable, See you for the Weekend will make good use of local industries as a means to promote indoor activities.

Kate Lewington, CEO for Destination Orkney said: “Orkney is in the fantastic position of launching a new era for tourism in the archipelago. With the arrival of Destination Orkney, our brand new Destination Management Organisation (DMO), responsible for the management and marketing of tourism in Orkney, as well as providing our membership with an industry voice, there has never been a better moment for us to be successful in our funding application to VisitScotland's Growth Fund.

“This campaign will set the standard for tourism marketing in Orkney for the long term, whilst providing a wonderful campaign that shouts about the magic of Orkney during our unique autumn and winter months.”

James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “Orkney has so much to offer all year round – it’s good news that Destination Orkney has secured the support of VisitScotland for this new marketing project aimed at raising the profile of Orkney as a premier shoulder season and off season experience.

“This announcement demonstrates the successes an integrated approach to tourism as modelled by the Destination Orkney partnership can bring about.

“It also reflects the fantastic collaboration at which Orkney excels and which underpins the buzz and energy for which Orkney is renowned.”

John Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Orkney this week. It has been very encouraging to meet and hear from representatives from Destination Orkney about our collaborative approach to promoting the islands, as well as the many enthusiastic business owners and organisations looking forward to positive times ahead.

“Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and VisitScotland works with local industry to enable the development and delivery of innovative initiatives that grow the visitor economy.

“We need to create world class experiences, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing visitor demands. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.”
The campaign will be hosted on and visitors will be able to engage with the films and itineraries, browse the seasonal offers and take the next step to book their trip by contacting businesses directly.

The VisitScotland Board meeting takes place in the Kirkwall Hotel today (Thursday) and was preceded by a stakeholder dinner on Wednesday evening. Dinner attendees included James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council; MP Alistair Carmichael; Graeme Harrison, Area Manager of HIE; Kate Lewington, CEO of Destination Orkney; Mark Stuart, Director of Airport Operations at HIAL and Stuart Garrett, Managing Director of SERCO (Northlink Ferries).

  • Ahead of the dinner Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, and Orkney Island Games Association Chairman, Robbie Fraser, presented on Orkney’s recent success in securing the 2023 Island Games and what it means for the island and Scotland’s reputation as global leader in event delivery.

Stephen Kemp, Managing Director of Orkney Distillery, also gave everyone a tour of the new distillery and tasting following the dinner.

For more information about VisitScotland’s Growth Fund, visit

For more information on Orkney, visit

Notes to Editors

  • VisitScotland’s Growth Fund encourages industry collaboration to deliver partnership marketing campaigns, in other words marketing Scotland with Scotland.
  • To be eligible for a Growth Fund award, applicants must place a strong emphasis on digital marketing and the creation of digital content assets. They are also encouraged to align themselves with Scotland’s themed years, including the 2018 Year of Young People. More information at
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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 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.
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2018 Year of Young People

  • 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:
  • Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • Education – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • Health and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • Equality 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.
  • Enterprise 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
  • Culture – 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 or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.