Follow VisitScotland

VisitScotland opens world's first Instagram travel agency

Press Release   •   Oct 18, 2017 10:47 BST

The #ScotSpirit Instagram Travel Agency lets visitors craft holidays to Scotland based entirely around other travellers’ Instagram pictures.
  • The #ScotSpirit Instagram Travel Agency lets visitors craft holidays to Scotland based entirely around other travellers’ Instagram pictures; combining social media with a high street experience.
  • Planning starts at a floor-to-ceiling digital Instagram wall showing images from across Scotland;
  • Visitors pick their favourite ‘#ScotSpirit’ Instagram images and bespoke holiday itineraries are created based on those pictures.
  • Guests can also take a VR tour of Scotland, enjoy a taste of Scottish hospitality, and be in with a chance of winning a brilliant break to the Highlands.

VisitScotland has today (18 October) brought the digital world to IRL bricks-and-mortar, by opening the first ever Instagram Travel Agency: allowing visitors to build their own holidays to Scotland based entirely around other people’s Instagram photos.This digital twist on the high-street holiday experience combines the enormous amount of inspirational content available online with the expertise and guidance that only the traditional travel agent can offer.

It’s a common occurrence: a person clicks “like” on a friend’s holiday Instagram photos and thinks “That’s another one for the trip list!” In fact, more than 488 million people do so – as 61%* of all Instagram users say that they use Instagram to plan their trips to a new place.

What happens when there’s just too much #inspo though? Instagram users agree that it’s a perfect tool to discover incredible destinations – it fuels daydreams about exciting locations (96%) or opens their eyes to different cultures (95%)*. But…how does one navigate the hundreds of millions of travel-related hashtags** to create the perfect trip? At times like that, there’s no substitution for a bit of good, old-fashioned human interaction and guidance.

The #ScotSpirit Instagram Travel Agency magics away the time spent researching holidays online. Upon arrival, Instagram inspiration is delivered via a resplendently crisp floor-to-ceiling screen displaying hundreds of Instagram photos of Scotland At this state-of-the-art picture wall, visitors, with the assistance of staff, select their favourite ‘#ScotSpirit’ Instagram images of Scotland’s sights, restaurants, experiences, hotels and more.

The personable and knowledgeable staff then use a customer’s cherry-picked Instagram pictures to curate their perfect Scottish holiday suggested itinerary; crafted around their unique personal preferences and schedules. Visitors can then take the itinerary away to book in their own time.

Charlie Smith, Director of Marketing from VisitScotland commented: “As a destination we are keen to develop and deliver our powerful national story, giving a respectful nod to the past but portraying a modern, welcoming and dynamic Scotland. We’re proud of the fact that VisitScotland has the biggest tourism Instagram account in Europe, with over 370, 000 followers. People love our feed not only for the stunning photographs – often taken by our visitors - but also because they discover the immense and unexpected variety of things they can see and do in Scotland. Our biggest number of Instagram followers come from London***, so by extending that traditional Scottish hospitality and opening the world’s first Instagram Travel Agency in London, we hope to inspire them to come to Scotland to experience it for themselves!”

Every customer who has a suggested itinerary created for them will also have the chance to win a brilliant break to Scotland. The space itself will be dressed by ANTA Scotland with its beautiful and original home furnishing and ceramic stoneware. Customers can also experience many different Scottish destinations and landmarks through a VR experience to help them with their decision of where they’d like to visit in person.

The #ScotSpirit Instagram Travel Agency will be open from Wednesday 18th October until Saturday 21st October, and is free to enter, no appointment necessary. It is located in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia, at 89 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PU.

- Ends -

For more information, photography, interviews or to arrange a visit please contact 020 7234 9150 / visitscotland@cowpr.com

* Based on Facebook IQ 2017 study. Based on total number of Instagram users being 800 million, as announced in September.

** Top travel hashtag usage (average for a typical week)

  • 1.#travel – 160million+ posts
  • 2.#adventure – 38million+ posts
  • 3.#roadtrip – 25million+ posts
  • 4.#staycation – 1million+ posts
  • 5.#hiddengem – 290,000+ posts

*** Top city locations for VisitScotland Instagram followers

  • 1.London – 15, 269
  • 2.Edinburgh- 13, 069
  • 3.Aberdeen – 4, 768
  • 4.Glasgow – 3, 909
  • 5.New York- 2, 633

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:
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. 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
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. 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