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Winter Wonderland

Press Release   •   Nov 26, 2015 15:20 GMT

From celebrating Scotland’s patron saint to bringing in the New Year, not just once but twice, Scotland’s winter visitors will be spoilt for choice this season in an online guide produced by the national tourism organisation.

Alongside details of Hogmanay traditions such as first-footing and hot toddies, VisitScotland’s A-Z of Winter in Scotland highlights parts of the country that still celebrate ‘auld New Year’ on 12 January as well as some of the best places to see in late 2015 and early 2016.

On average, visitors to Scotland from October to December stay more than 13 million nights and spend £955 million. Visitors between January and March on average stay more than 8 million nights and spend £566 million.

The online brochure, produced for the second year running, features everything from the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally to where visitors can catch some Zzzzzs, plus information on the upcoming Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

The 30-page e-book is an essential guide to ensure visitors to Scotland don’t miss out on the exciting activities and unique events taking place around the country during the winter months.

With information on New Year’s street parties and ceilidhs, the free-to-download guide also features a vast selection of exciting and unique things to see and do, including Christmas concerts, pantomimes, ancient fire festivals, Burns Night and where to take a refreshing New Year’s Day ‘dook’!

Those looking for inspiration this Valentine’s Day can get some interesting and unusual ideas such as spending a magical evening star gazing at Scotland's Dark Sky Park in Dumfries & Galloway or for those leaping lovers there is bungee jumping at the stunning Killiecrankie in Perthshire. Culinary masters can also download a suggested menu for the romantic day.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“Attracting both international and domestic visitors, Scotland is the home of Hogmanay and people come from all over the world to experience a Scottish winter wonderland. From Aviemore Sled Dog Rallyto the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, there’s so much going on across the country.

“With inspiration and ideas on everything from Scotland’s fire festivals and where to see the ‘Merry Dancers’ and meet real-life reindeer, to the famous New Year’s Day Ba’ and our incredible choice of ski and snowboarding centres – this free online guide is an absolute must-read.”

There is also a regional index which details what is happening per region.

The A-Z of Winter in Scotlandcan be downloaded here:

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Notes to Editors

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    • 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
    • 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.
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    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