The increase in direct European flights to Scotland has boosted the country’s appeal for touring holidays, enabling national tourism organisation VisitScotland to drive rural tourism. In 2007 alone there will be 21 new direct services from Europe to BAA Scotland’s airports - Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
With a million pound campaign starting this week, VisitScotland hopes to encourage Europeans to travel the length and breadth of the country. The Pan European Touring Campaign will target tourists from Germany, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy.
The campaign will build on steady growth in the number of international visitors to Scotland, which have increased by 50 per cent from 2001 to 2005.
Car touring is Scotland’s largest leisure tourism market from Europe, and with VisitScotland’s campaign highlighting destinations from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway, the campaign is set to benefit areas across Scotland. In addition to a range of ferry transport, the increase in direct flights to Scotland makes a long or short touring holiday even easier for European visitors.
A number of touring itineraries have been developed including ‘Scotland in Film and Television’, featuring destinations including the Aberdeenshire fishing village Pennan which featured in Local Hero and Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian which was the setting for the closing scenes in Hollywood blockbuster movie the Da Vinci Code.
Other touring themes include Romantic Scotland, Island Adventure, Food and Drink and Castles and Gardens. The touring itineraries have been developed in a number of languages and can be downloaded from VisitScotland’s international consumer websites.
This year’s campaign will again highlight the warmth of welcome European visitors will receive in Scotland with the slogan ‘Scotland. Welcome to our life’. Previous campaigns using this slogan have resulted in a return of £23 for every £1 invested.
VisitScotland will invest over a million pounds this year, which will be used to promote touring holidays in Scotland through on-line marketing, direct mail, press inserts, public relations and promotions in the target countries. The marketing activity will reach a vast audience, with a million consumers expected to visit the touring campaign websites.
Tourism Minister Patricia Ferguson said: “From major cities to rural areas Scotland has many world beating attractions. By encouraging our visitors to explore some of our hidden treasures we can help to maximize and spread the benefits of tourism related business, which contributes to Scotland’s growing economy.”
VisitScotland’s Head of International Marketing Denise Hill, said: “This touring campaign, targeting our top European traveller markets is one of our biggest and most important. A touring adventure in Scotland is the top holiday product purchased by our international visitors and the increase in direct flights in recent years has made this experience more accessible than ever. We are delighted to be working with over a dozen carrier routes into Scotland, to see this campaign harness that accessibility and drive rural tourism, encouraging visitors to follow touring routes to all corners of Scotland.”
Stephen Baxter, divisional managing director of airport operator BAA Scotland, said: “With more than 20 new European services due to start this year, and many more from Canada and the US, Scotland’s tourism industry has a great opportunity to reach a truly global audience. BAA Scotland is delighted to be playing its part in supporting our tourism industry by increasing the range of direct international flights to Scotland. Improving Scotland’s international connectivity remains a key priority for us in the months ahead.”