The Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre became a showcase for the very best in Scottish tourism last week as hundreds of international buyers descended on the Granite City for VisitScotland expo 2011.
A total of 230 businesses from all over Scotland exhibited at the AECC, as more than 500 buyers, including travel agents and group travel organisers, from 34 countries attended the national tourism organisation’s flagship business-to-business trade show.
Exhibitors pulled out all the stops to make their stands grab the attention of visitors from all over the UK, as well as countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, India, China and Russia.
Among the eye-catching stands were the three-metre high horses’ head sculptures belonging to Falkirk’s Helix Project, and ferry company Caledonian MacBrayne’s hull-shaped exhibition.
On Thursday, VisitScotland Chairman Mike Cantlay presented the award for the Most Effective Stand for Doing Business to Aberdeen City and Shire, the award for Most Effective Personnel to MacDonald Hotels & Resorts, the award for Most Effective Stand to the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews and the Most Effective First-Time Exhibitor award to Guy and Jamie McKenzie, owners of Blown Away Experiences.
It has been a memorable few months for the 24-year-old identical twins, who mainly operate their land yachting business at the West Sands beach in St Andrews. In October, they were presented with a prestigious VisitScotland Scottish Thistle Award in the Young Entrepreneur category.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “Expo 2011 proved a fantastic showcase for the whole of Scotland and I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the exhibitors, particularly the stand award winners, for making the event so memorable. Every exhibitor I spoke to while in Aberdeen said that they made excellent contacts from both the international and UK markets. The value of expo is clear: the average potential value of business as a result of attending Expo as an exhibitor is £28,000, with some businesses quoting values as high as £100,000.”