Hot on the heels of being awarded the accolade of most beautiful country in the world, Scotland is now officially the most welcoming country in the world, according to Rough Guides.* Scotland has natural beauty in spades, munros, lochs, stunning isles and more, with a personality to match; consider everything from ceilidh-ing with strangers to chats with Glaswegian taxi drivers!
As Rough Guides states, “Whether you’re propping up a bar in Edinburgh or trekking the hills of Glen Coe, you’re sure to feel a warm Scottish welcome from whomever you meet.”
Here are some of the braw reasons Scotland is the warmest, friendliest and most welcoming place in the world!
Get in the party spirit!
Towns and villages across Scotland play host to over 200 festivals each year, offering something for everyone. The winter months are especially lively; between raising the roof on St Andrew’s Day (30 November) for Scotland’s patron saint, and raising a dram in honour of Robert Burns, our national Bard on Burns Night (25 January) - with the world-famous Hogmanay celebrations in between - it’s fair to say that Scotland does a celebration well. Revellers are invited to get into the festive spirit and join Scotland’s Winter Festivals.
Inclusive and progressive, everyone is welcome
In both 2015 and 2016, Scotland was recognised as the "best country in Europe for LGBTI legal equality” by The Equality Network. Scotland hosts a wide variety of nationalities, including welcoming a third of the Syrian refugees settling in the UK** and also boasting the highest percentage (22%) of international and EU students of the four UK nations***, for whom an official airport welcome is organised at the start of the semester. Scotland is also leading the way in terms of accessible tourism, working in partnership with the likes of the Royal Yacht Britannia, Edinburgh. The Royal Yacht Britannia is entirely wheelchair accessible with ramps and lifts throughout. Staff also go out of their way to help those with sensory and learning impairments.
Whether having a chat with locals at The Bow Bar, Edinburgh (voted Scotland’s pub of the year) or enjoying a delicious breakfast at Ballintaggart Farm, Perthshire (voted most hospitable B&B/ Guest House at the Scottish Thistle Awards Central, Fife and Tayside regional final), you’re guaranteed to feel the warmth of welcome in Scotland all over the country.
What’s in an accent?
The Scottish accent is often voted the friendliest, most trustworthy and most calming accent in Britain. It’s been voted the sexiest too!**** Think Sean Connery, Gerard Butler, Karen Gillan, Nicola Benedetti and Ewan McGregor. Another great reason to come and visit!
Getting up close and personal with the locals…
We know the people are great but have you thought about meeting some of the local wildlife too? The Cairngorm Reindeer Centre is Britain's only free-ranging herd of reindeer found in the Cairngorm mountains. These friendly guys are a joy to all who come and see them. Plucky and petit, puffins boast bags of charm and take the prize for being the most adorable of Scotland’s seabirds hands-down. See wild puffins from May to early August on the Isle of May with tours from the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick.
For more information on Scotland, go to www.visitscotland.com
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
- To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
- 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) 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