VisitScotland.com, the national tourism booking and information service, has passed the £50 million marker in bookings taken since they were formed four years ago.
The milestone was revealed as the company outlined details of a new strategic partnership agreement that they have signed with Tiscover.
The deal is pivotal to the evolution of the current VisitScotland.com website, contact centre and tourist information centre booking system into a refreshed, faster and even better service.
Since being established, the number of visits to the VisitScotland.com website has rapidly increased. In 2004 there were 6.4 million visits and that number rose to 10.5 million in 2005, an increase of over 50 per cent. It is projected to reach 13 million by the end of this year. The highly successful portal is the most visited national tourism website in the UK and those visits are increasingly turning into firm bookings as the announcement about the £50 million mark shows.
The enormous growth in popularity of the website and advances in technology world-wide have prompted VisitScotland.com to find a strategic technology provider to meet the future needs of the business.
Tiscover has 15 years of experience in the destination management systems market with a proven track record in Europe, the UK and South Africa.
The partnership with Tiscover goes beyond the provision of technology with new private sector investment coming into the venture and an adjustment in shareholding.
VisitScotland will become the largest shareholder in the company, with Tiscover joining them as second largest, followed by the other existing shareholders Partnerships UK and Atos Origin. The company will also have an independent Chairman and a new tourism industry advisory group.
Announcing the deal Marco Truffelli, Chief Executive of VisitScotland.com said:
“This is a terrific deal for us and for Scotland’s tourism industry. We have been in talks with Tiscover for some time and I’m delighted that we have reached an agreement with them.
“The changes we are planning to the business are part of the natural evolution of the company as we go forward. We now have a partnership with the leading company in the world for this type of technology. This will be of great benefit to us and to tourism businesses across Scotland.
“Our business has proved to be very successful, as the £50 million in bookings taken shows and we are substantially growing the number of visits year on year. Now we need a bigger, more powerful technology platform, as potential visitors increasingly demand more information and more capability to research and book their trips online. That is what Tiscover are helping us to build.”
The new website will be seen later this year and preliminary work is already being done by staff at Tiscover and VisitScotland.com.
Bruno Walter, Executive Board Director at Tiscover, expressed his delight at the deal: “We look forward to a long-lasting and fruitful partnership with VisitScotland.com and the Scottish tourism industry. Customers worldwide will benefit from the future developments that this will bring. E-commerce in the tourism industry will be one of the biggest drivers for growth and together we will make it happen for Scotland”.
Welcoming the Tiscover deal, VisitScotland Chief Executive, Philip Riddle, said: “This partnership gives us the chance to bring in world-leading technology and fresh private sector investment. It will enable significant progress in the fast-moving world of e-commerce. The tourism industry will play an important role in supporting the further development of VisitScotland.com through the new advisory group and independent chairman. The investment from Tiscover is a real vote of confidence in VisitScotland.com and we look forward to working with them to benefit everyone in Scottish tourism”.