MAJOR Golf events, a new light and fire festival and an international air spectacle are some of the highlights of a busy year for tourism in Ayrshire & Arran.
As 2017 draws to a close, VisitScotland Regional Director Annique Armstrong looks back on a successful year for tourism in the region.
She said: “It is fantastic to see the success of major golfing events like the Scottish Open and the Ladies Scottish Open held at Dundonald Links in July – recently named sporting Event of the Year at the prestigious Sunday Mail Sports Awards. Ayrshire welcomed more than 60,000 spectactors to these events, providing a £4million boost to the local economy. These events helped to shine the spotlight on Ayrshire & Arran, beaming our breathtaking scenery to millions of viewers globally and showcasing the very best of what the region has to offer.”
2017 also saw the launch of the first ever Illuminight, light and fire spectacular which attracted more than 38,000 visitors to Kilmarnock’s Dean Castle Country Park during its four-week run in October and November. In addition, the Scottish International Air Show attracted around 120,000 spectators to Ayr in July, and Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light returned to the Scottish Maritime Museum as part of the National Winter Festivals events programme, attracting around 18,000 visitors to the four-day spectacle.
Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and VisitScotland works with local industry to develop and deliver innovative initiatives that grow the visitor economy.
Annique added: “In recent months, we have completed a successful digital marketing campaign to raise overall awareness of Ayrshire & Arran as a destination to a UK audience. This activity generated more than 20,000 complete views of a video dedicated to the region, 66,000 interactions or engagements with the social promotion as well as more than 6,500 visits to the Ayrshire & Arran destination page on visitscotland.com – a fantastic result. We also launched a new e-book and video earlier in the year on East Ayrshire available at http://ebooks.visitscotland.com/east-ayrshire/and VisitScotland’s YouTube channel, lifting the lid on many of the undiscovered gems to be experienced in the region.
“The way that visitors access information about Scotland has changed significantly over the past decade and by delivering global marketing activity like this, we can continue to support local tourism businesses and provide inspiration for visitors from all over the world.
“Our ambition is to reach more people than ever before with inspirational and exciting information about Scotland. We are delighted that 80 businesses and growing in Ayrshire and Arran are now part of the Visitor Information Partner (VIP) programme, working with VisitScotland to ensure that visitors are equipped with the best local knowledge about things to experience in the region.”
In 2018, Scotland celebrates the Year of Young People, with a year-long schedule of events, activities and ideas which will give young people the opportunity to shine, showcase their talents and contributions. The year will provide more ways for both visitors and locals to explore all that Scotland has to offer.
Annique added: “As we approach the New Year and the start of the Year of Young People, I would like to remind people of some of the amazing events and festivals coming up in Ayrshire and Arran. The year will get off to a great start with Burns Night celebrations taking place throughout the region in the birthplace of the great poet. The new Brodick Ferry terminal is fantastic news for the region as well, demonstrating significant investment in Scotland’s island communities, with the potential to improve the visitor journey and attract new visitors from around the world.”
“I am excited about the many opportunities that the year ahead will bring and we look forward to inspiring, supporting and encouraging visitors to Ayrshire and Arran in the coming year.”
For further information on the Year of Young People and the opportunities available to businesses, visit: http://www.visitscotland.org/business_support/advice_materials/toolkits/yoyp2018.aspx
Tourism businesses in Ayrshire & Arran can take advantage of online tools and practical advice on digital marketing available at: https://www.digitaltourismscotland.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