Highlighting the importance of the rural tourism economy was the focus of a seminar organised by VisitScotland and attended by around 70 representatives from businesses in the east of Aberdeenshire.
The imposing 800-year-old fortress of Fyvie Castle was the backdrop to the agri-tourism event, at which delegates had the opportunity to hear from speakers about current industry trends and network with tourism businesses locally.
In Aberdeenshire, 65% of the population is based rurally – which highlights the wealth of opportunity that exists to continue to build, expand and be entrepreneurial with rural links, to continue to attract visitors to our part of Scotland. Nationally, the value of domestic visitor spend in rural areas amounts to £633 million and equates to 2.6 million domestic trips.
Chris Greenwood, VisitScotland’s Senior Tourism Insights Manager, spoke to delegates about agricultural and rural tourism insights and the impacts and benefits for Aberdeenshire; and Chris Foy, Chief Executive at VisitAberdeenshire presented the new destination strategy for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, detailing how they hope to grow visitor spend to £1 billion per year by 2023.
A new plan to develop food and drink tourism in Scotland – aiming to deliver an additional £1 billion to Scotland’s economy by 2030 – was recently launched by Nicola Sturgeon. At the event, Peter Cook, Director of Food, Drink and Agriculture at Opportunity North East, updated those attending about Opportunity North East’s work within that sector.
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “I am delighted that representatives from so many businesses in East Aberdeenshire attended this event, which hopefully gave them real food for thought on the subject of rural tourism.
“This region has tremendous assets and strengths that offer visitors a range of great experiences – from food and drink to farm shops, coasts to castles and woods to wigwams. VisitScotland helps to promote these strengths to a global audience.
“With 21% of domestic visitor trips being to rural areas and 22% of domestic visitor spend being in rural areas, capitalising on these visitors is so important. Hopefully events like this can help rural businesses to make the most of these opportunities.”
Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East MSP, said: “We have one of the most diverse regions in Scotland with an abundance of historical and cultural significance and interest. There is so much to do and see in rural parts and right across Aberdeenshire and we must do all we can to maximise the opportunities for tourism and economic growth by attracting new visitors to the North-east.”
Chris Foy, VisitAberdeenshire Chief Executive, said: “The event reflected the importance of rural tourism for the North-east which is a significant priority set within the destination strategy for the next five years.
“It is encouraging to see the strong desire from local industry to work alongside VisitScotland and VisitAberdeenshire to strengthen the appeal of the destination to visitors, and the quality of the experience.”
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 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.
- 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
- 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 tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
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 www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.