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Successful year for tourism in Ayrshire & Arran

Press Release   •   Dec 27, 2017 11:03 GMT

East Ayrshire Leisure is one of the 80 plus businesses in the region to be part of VisitScotland's Visitor Information Partner scheme

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 – a fantastic result. We also launched a new e-book and video earlier in the year on East Ayrshire available at 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:

Tourism businesses in Ayrshire & Arran can take advantage of online tools and practical advice on digital marketing available at:

The East Ayrshire e-book and film can be viewed here: and

Notes to Editors

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  • 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.
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