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Press Release   •  Mar 17, 2017 12:34 GMT

NBC’s The Today Show filmed at Duns Castle earlier this week

Millions of viewers in the US would have been forgiven for thinking they were still dreaming when they woke up earlier this week to images of a fairytale 14th century Scottish castle on their screen.

Duns Castle in the Scottish Borders was the location for a live broadcast on NBC’s The Today Show, which attracts 4.31 million viewers.

Duns Castle was chosen by international holiday rental company HomeAway to highlight the historic property as a way to promote a prize draw for one lucky winner and up to 20 additional guests to enjoy the historic property for five nights this summer. The international holiday contest was launched to celebrate Disney’s live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, debuting in UK theatres tomorrow.

The unique opportunity, which also included filming in Edinburgh’s old and new towns and featured some of Scotland’s most famous icons – whisky, highland dancing and Shetland ponies – originated with HomeAway, which features Duns Castle within its inventory of more than two million unique places to stay around the world.

Today is an American morning television news and talk show that airs on NBC and is one of the top two national morning shows in the US. The live feature is a massive coup for Scottish tourism with hosts Sheinelle Jones and Al Roker travelling to Scotland to present the live segment along with London-based NBC correspondent Keir Simmons.

Duns Castle, originally a Border fighting tower founded in 1320, sits on the outskirts of the market town of Duns and is soon to celebrate its 700th anniversary. The Hay family have owned the castle for three centuries and it is now available for weddings, events and exclusive use stays where guests can enjoy a wide range of activities from clay pigeon shooting to fishing, falconry and archery.

VisitScotland Regional Director Doug Wilson said: This is an amazing opportunity to shine the spotlight on Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders for their American audience.

“We know that a fascination with Scotland exists for many people living in the US, especially through their ancestors and family links.

“With 40 per cent of visitors to the UK inspired to come here after seeing a location on film or on television, a major US morning talk show being shot on location in Scotland carried huge potential benefits for the tourism industry.

“We hope that Americans waking up to the stunning fairytale location and amazing scenery around Duns Castle, not to mention the sight of the Shetland ponies and horse and carriage, will be inspired to follow in NBC’s footsteps and make the most of the opportunities on offer as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and make the journey for themselves.”

Aline Hay of Duns Castle said: Guests to Duns Castle are promised a unique and special experience within a beautiful part of the Scottish Borders and we hope that many viewers in the US will feel inspired to enjoy their holidays in castle after watching Today on NBC.”

Jonathan Findlay, Business Development Partner at Duns Castle, worked closely with HomeAway on the opportunity, since successfully presenting Duns Castle for their consideration. He said: “We are delighted to have been selected from among HomeAway’s castles in Europe as the flagship property for this awareness campaign and to have effectively brought this opportunity to Scotland. We hope the media attention shows how accessible and affordable staying in a castle can be and that it will also benefit the local community, the Scottish Borders, and Scotland as a whole.”

The most recent NBC Today Show filming comes after VisitScotland successfully secured several spots on the NBC network featuring the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow and Ben Fogle exploring Perthshire in 2012, which aired during the London 2012 Olympics; as well as on curling during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

For more information on Duns Castle, visit https://www.visitscotland.com/info/accommodation/duns-castle-p182271

For more set-jetting opportunities, see Set in Scotland published by VisitScotlandhttps://www.visitscotland.com/ebrochures/en/set-in-scotland/

For more information on the HomeAway competition to win a 5-night stay at Duns Castle for 20 guests this summer, travel included, visit www.homeaway.com/Disney

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
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  • 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.
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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