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VisitScotland and Airbnb Launch New Tourism Partnership

Press release   •   Mar 21, 2018 10:04 GMT

The Sea Kayaking Experience offered by Airbnb

VisitScotland and Airbnb have announced a new strategic tourism partnership to help increase the economic benefits of tourism and travel across Scotland.

It comes as Airbnb today (Wednesday) launches Experiences in Edinburgh, which allow local experts to share their passions and interests with visitors from around the world. The Scottish capital is the first UK destination outside of London to host Experiences.

Launched in collaboration with VisitScotland, guests can now choose from over 30 Edinburgh-based Experiences including kayaking in the Scottish wildlife, making shortbread with a professional baker, and learning to cook with a top food blogger. Experiences will be led by talented artists, local entrepreneurs or seasoned experts and are designed to offer a variety of new ways to see the city.

The partnership, among the first between a national tourism organisation and a cutting-edge hospitality platform, aims to support more authentic experiences for visitors to Scotland, allowing guests to discover hidden gems and exciting experiences beyond traditional tourism. It will also empower Airbnb hosts to become true ambassadors for Scotland, sharing knowledge and local insight with guests in line with VisitScotland’s tourism and cultural campaigns.

As well as the launch of Experiences in Edinburgh, the organisations intend to work together to share insights and learnings with each other to advance the tourism sector in Scotland.

Riddell Graham, VisitScotland Director of Partnerships, commented: “Tourism today is all about consumer choice and Airbnb is becoming an increasingly popular part of that suite of choices, helping grow the visitor economy through innovative new approaches such as Experiences.

“We know that many visitors now want to combine their traditional tourism experiences with something special that takes them off the beaten track, giving them an authentic experience of Scotland that they won’t get elsewhere.

“Experiences offer a good opportunity for existing tourism businesses in Edinburgh, as well as individuals with a passion for the city, to be creative and consider new products and offerings that might appeal to the Airbnb traveller.

“Scotland is full of unforgettable experiences. We’re delighted to be working Airbnb and look forward to seeing more locations across the country offering Experiences in the future.”

Last year, guests staying in a listing on Airbnb in Scotland spent over £1 million per day in local communities. Edinburgh Experiences will help bring in a new form of tourism to the city, while boosting the local economy even further.

James McClure, General Manager for Airbnb UK, commented: “Airbnb travellers visiting Edinburgh can now unearth hidden gems across the city and immerse themselves in the unique arts, culture, and food for which the city is renowned. For locals, Edinburgh Experiences are a great way for people to earn extra money from their interests and meet new people.

“We are delighted to partner with VisitScotland to launch Experiences, spread the benefits of authentic tourism, drive economic growth and empower Airbnb hosts to be ambassadors in Scotland.”

Highlights of the new Experiences on offer include:

Shortbread Baking Masterclass: Guests will learn how to make award winning shortbread from start to finish with the owner of Pinnies and Poppyseeds Bakery, as well as some of their famous sweet treats like Millionaire Shortbread Truffles.

Sea Kayak with Scottish Wildlife: From North Berwick guests will learn how to sea kayak and head out on a journey around the islands of Craigleith and Lamb. Guests can stop on some of Scotland's most beautiful beaches, pass under historic Tantallon Castle and paddle into the smallest harbour in Scotland.

Make Sourdough Bread with Breadshare: Guests will assist in the baking for the day by moulding bread dough and preparing ingredients. The group will be able to sit together, enjoy coffee and baked treats and get to take home some sourdough as well.

Edinburgh From Above Running Tour: This is the chance to experience Edinburgh from above! In this challenging, yet stunning 8km run, guests will run above the city and view some of Edinburgh’s most historic monuments.

Cook Scottish dishes with a blogger: This workshop will teach you how to create the rustic, comforting dishes of the Scottish kitchen. Guests will learn how to make vegetarian Haggis, tattie Scones, spiced Neeps, and for dessert, Cranachan. Everything will be made from scratch, and guests be given handwritten recipe cards, meaning you can take a wee piece of Scotland back home with you.

Since launching Trips, Experience bookings on Airbnb have grown 2500% in the past year, driven by 5,000 Experiences across 60 destinations. Airbnb will expand Experiences to 1,000 destinations by the end of 2018 including places such as Easter Island, Tasmania and Iceland.


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 five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • 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
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • 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
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to

2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.