Aberdeen’s newly-refurbished VisitScotland Information Centre (VIC) officially opened its doors today, with help from a visiting Norwegian choir.
The Stord UngdomskorChoir sang the praises of the new-look Union Street Centre, which had been closed whilst work went on to modernise the centre, both inside and out. It now offers visitors a more fully-accessible, customer-friendly service, access to digital information and more internal space to browse and sit whilst making bookings.
Today, members of the choir, who are taking part in Aberdeen’s annual International Youth Festival, helped VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead officially open the Centre.
The Information Centre team vacated the building in February and, with assistance from Aberdeen City Council, moved into a temporary location within Marischal College. Now the keys have been handed back to the team to showcase the revamped Information Centre, which boasts better lighting and an improved internal design, giving visitors increased space to move around and more reason to spend time in the Centre.
The refurbished Centre will help promote Aberdeen City & Shire to visitors, highlighting its delicious natural larder, world-class golf courses, castle and coastal trails and enthralling events programme, including regional Highland games, the inaugural Etape Royale, Dolphinwatch 2015 and Aberdeen Summer Festival.
As well as perusing brochures, purchasing souvenirs and being inspired by local experts, visitors will also be able to use a state-of-the-art interactive screen, allowing them to navigate a map of Aberdeen City and Shire and discover more about what the region has to offer. There are also two tablets for use by visitors within the Information Centre.
The VisitScotland Information Centre, which offers free Wi-Fi, will also sell tickets to local attractions and day tours, including those run by Historic Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland and Calmac.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“The Information Centre refurbishment has exceeded expectations and looks really amazing - I’d like to thank everyone involved for all their hard work.
“The improvements that have been made have made it bigger and better than before. Rapid developments in technology mean visitors are now using a range of channels to access information about Aberdeen and Scotland. In line with this trend, VisitScotland has refurbished and upgraded the facilities within the Information Centre in Union Street.
“This is expected to increase the impact that the centre has on encouraging locals and visitors alike to spend more time in Aberdeen City and Shire, experiencing more of what the area has to offer.”
Liv Kari Bru conductor for Stord Ungdomskor said:
“We are so pleased to be part of the VisitScotland Information Centre opening and hope more Norwegians will come to visit, as the people of Aberdeen are so accommodating and we always feel very welcomed.
"Aberdeen is a beautiful city, we always feel so safe when we are here and the buildings are so pretty. There is so much to do in Aberdeen, we enjoy the coffee shops, the shopping centres and love how close everything is together. There is also a lot of green space in the city centre and also we love the stunning Aberdeen beach.”
As well as opening the Information Centre, Mr Roughead was in the city to talk to businesses as part of his ‘tea and tourism’ tour. This is the third in a series of Chief Executive Listening Tour meetings, giving tourism organisations across the country access to, and opportunities to speak directly with, the VisitScotland Chief Executive.
This morning, Mr Roughead attended a meeting and lunch at Aberdeen’s Atholl Hotel, in Kings Gate, with industry representatives and local council officials, to discuss local priorities and VisitScotland’s ongoing working relationship with them.
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
- 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.
- 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 events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
Year of Food and Drink 2015
- 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
- Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
- A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
- For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland