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Scot day in Oz

Press Release   •   Jan 20, 2016 11:06 GMT

The chairman of Scotland’s national tourism organisation will be ‘top Scot’ at one of Australia’s premier gatherings which celebrates Scottish culture and cuisine.

Mike Cantlay will be guest of honour at the fourth annual Scots Day Out (SDO) in Bendigo, Victoria, on 13 February. The Highland Games-style event is attended by thousands of people with Scottish ancestry from across Australia each year.

The honour coincides with Mr Cantlay being in the country with VisitScotland and its industry partners to promote Scotland at trade meetings and events during The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo’s international tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Australia represents a key diaspora stronghold with some 1.5 million Australians of Scots origin or with Scottish ancestry. Latest figures reveal there has been a year-on-year increase in trips to Scotland by our friends Down Under since 2012.

In 2014, Australia was the third largest international market for number of nights spent in Scotland (1.67 million) and for expenditure (£129 million). With connectivity between Australia and Scotland increasing in recent years, via Middle Eastern airlines such as Etihad and Qatar, the time has never been better to encourage visitors from Australia to visit Scotland and walk in the footsteps of their ancestors.

At Scots Day Out, Mr Cantlay will have the prestige of joining Greater Bendigo City Council Mayor, Councillor Rod Fyffe – himself a University of Edinburgh graduate with ancestry that dates back to Kirriemuir, Angus, in the 19th Century – in taking the salute from bands and clans. The event will also display the new Scottish-registered official Bendigo tartan.

Mr Cantlay will then co-host a special luncheon with Cllr Fyffe for key Bendigo and Scottish community leaders from Melbourne and Victoria, before a networking event.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said:

“I am delighted to attend Scots Day Out which is a wonderful community celebration of our traditional and contemporary culture. Bendigo has a fine reputation as a tourism leader in Australia and I look forward to discovering further links between the city and Scotland.

“Events such as Scots Day Out act as a spiritual shop window for Scotland, giving attendees a flavour of our beautiful country. It presents us with a fantastic opportunity to engage the Scottish diaspora and encourage them to look back ‘home’ in 2016 to visit Scotland during the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.”

Cllr Rod Fyffe, Greater Bendigo City Council Mayor, said:

“The visit by Mike Cantlay and the VisitScotland team will be greeted by the symbolism and colour of our wonderful new official Bendigo Tartan. Since the discovery of gold, Scots have more than played their part in Bendigo’s journey to the cosmopolitan 21st century regional city we are today and council looks forward to exploring possible new links with Scotland in education and innovation, sport, creative industries and culture.”

Chris Earl, Scots Day Out director, said:

“SDO showcases our city and Australia's appreciation for the wonderful heritage of Scotland to visitors from around Australia in the beautiful setting of Rosalind Park in the centre of Bendigo. Golden City Pipe Band and our team of SDO volunteers are stoked that we will be sharing the smiles of SDO with Mike Cantlay and all of Scotland in 2016.”

VisitScotland will be joined in Australia by Festivals Edinburgh, The Spires Serviced Apartments, Highland Explorer Tours, and Parkhill Apartments to promote Scotland at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

In addition to attending Scots Day Out and meeting with leading ancestral contacts, Mr Cantlay will also hold meetings with chief executives and senior representatives from airlines, tour operators and hotel investors, as well as meeting with his counterparts in Tourism Australia and the Victoria Major Events Company.

For more on Scots Day Out go to

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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.
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    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 current 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).
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