Scotland looks toward Commonwealth Games to boost tourism
The five wealthiest nations in the Commonwealth, outside of the UK, are worth an average of £218m to Scottish tourism every year, according to recent figures.
VisitScotland has revealed it hopes to see this total rise significantly, with the major events of 2014 including the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and Homecoming celebrations, acting as a springboard for economic growth within the sector in future years.
With their strong ancestral links, Australia and Canada are the key focus among the Commonwealth markets, followed by India, New Zealand, and South Africa.
With both markets already having shown a post-Olympic bounce-back to Scotland in 2013, achieving levels beyond 2011 figures.
Last year over 314,000 visitors came to Scotland from these countries, representing over a tenth of all overseas trips to Scotland in 2013.
Next month thousands of visitors from across the world will descend on Glasgow for the XX Commonwealth Games.
The event has already been praised for generating significant interest in Scotland’s largest city.
Since the Queen’s Baton Relay left London in October of last year, VisitScotland and its partners have been using its tour of the Commonwealth to convert this interest in Scotland into increased visitors.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive, VisitScotland, said: “2014 is a unique year for Scottish tourism.
“With events such as the Commonwealth Games we’ve been given a chance to show the world that our country is the perfect place to host world-class events, as well as an ideal location to visit and do business.
“We are looking forward to welcoming even more visitors to Scotland as a result.
“This year is inspiring global confidence in Scotland but we can’t rest of our laurels, we must continue to build on this success and promote Scotland as an accessible and desirable holiday and business destination.”
Targeted activity in key markets has included advertising, publicity events, media interviews, meetings with Chambers of Commerce and other business contacts, and hosting specialist events for major tour operators to ensure Scotland features on future itineraries.
The national tourism organisation also believes the launch of several new and extended direct air routes, such as the United Airlines route from Chicago to Edinburgh, the extension of Air Canada Rouge flights to Edinburgh, the new Qatar route from Doha to Edinburgh and Emirates’ now twice daily direct flight from Glasgow to Dubai, will help make it easier for visitors to get to Scotland in 2014 and beyond.
Scottish tourism minister Fergus Ewing said: “We already know that Scotland is a world-class tourism destination, but in this Year of Homecoming 2014 we have a unique opportunity to showcase our country to a huge international audience.
“The Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup will open the door to many thousands of visitors to the country, and these major events can only enhance Scotland’s reputation as a great place to visit and do business.
“Our strong tourism sector currently provides employment to over 180,000 people and brings significant economic growth to the country.
“It is important that we continue to build on our success in this area, and ensure a lasting legacy from the many events that we look forward to hosting in Scotland in the months ahead.”