Thu 7 Jul 16
VisitScotland has put out a global call to Scots to ensure Scotland remains one of the top holiday choices after a rapid rise of destinations worldwide.
Recent findings show in the last 12 years, 254 new destinations have appeared worldwide leading to significant competition for Scotland's £5.2bn tourism industry*.
In response, VisitScotland has launched a mission to beam a Scot into every location worldwide to share what makes Scotland so special through advice, stories, tips and information.
Revealed today, the national tourism organisation has introduced a new global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of the country. The community will mean everyone worldwide from New York to New Guinea can go online in their own homes and 'talk to a Scottish local'.
The initiative was launched today (Thursday 7 July) using one of the greatest stories conceived in Scotland – Harry Potter - featuring a book sculpture of the Glenfinnan Viaduct or 'Harry Potter Bridge' to show how easy it is to bring Scotland to life through the written word.
Entitled iKnow Scotland, the new online and face to face community will see VisitScotland partnering with both private and public sectors to give businesses, industry and visitors the tools to enable them to share the Spirit of Scotland with others.
VisitScotland will reach out to ask Scots and those who love Scotland, to get involved as part of the wider Spirit of Scotland campaign that has been running nationwide. This will include a short online film called 'Pride' featuring an Amy Macdonald soundtrack.
Features of iKnow Scotland:
• Online Community on visitscotland.com - an active, owned forum where consumers can tell their own stories, show pictures, inspire others and provide advice
• Live Web Chat function to allow visitors to ask questions and get answers online in real time (during business hours)
• Trip Planning: A practical trip planning tool to help visitors to plan their break by creating, saving and sharing their own travel itineraries
Face to face inspiration:
• Introduction of iKnow Scotland VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) Programme (working with attractions and accommodation providers to deliver information and advice to visitors)
• 125 tourism businesses have signed up to the VIP programme already including visitor attractions operated by National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.
• Outreach - a fleet of Coo campervans and VisitScotland staff will travel around Scotland throughout the summer providing inspiration and information at some of the country's biggest and best events, visitor attractions and tourism hotspots.
• Re-naming of VisitScotland Information Centres as iCentres and iHubs nationwide
While 70% of visitors state that the internet is their preferred tool to plan a trip to Scotland, the most popular method for finding out 'what to see and do' was talking to locals. In addition, visitscotland.com was second only to Google as the site used to plan a trip**. The new online community will combine the benefits of the internet, with the personal touch in response to the changing needs of visitors.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said:
"Through the Spirit of Scotland campaign, everyone can tell Scotland's story. Whether it is about the warmth of our welcome, how they were moved by our landscapes, or our music, or our history.
"The whole nation can come together as part of this campaign, using the pride we have in our country and the passion we have for it to share Scotland's story far and wide."
The new initiative is part of the national tourism organisation's Spirit of Scotland campaign, launched in February 2016. The global campaign is built on extensive research which shows that people think Scotland has a unique spirit– whether it's the magic of the landscapes or the warmth of the people. Everyone who has shared their #ScotSpirit will become part of a special social movement. The award-winning campaign** has proved one of the most successful for VisitScotland in recent years. Since its launch on 10 February 2016 the campaign has celebrated:
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:
"This is a rallying call to Scots and all those who love Scotland globally – we need you to help us spread the word! Tourism is the most competitive industry in the world and we must think differently, pooling our collective knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to attract visitors.
We know that people who love Scotland are great storytellers. Visitors want to hear those stories and it is our role to ensure those stories are not only heard - whether online or in person – but that they inspire others to create their own memorable moments in Scotland.
We want to galvanise a nation behind this initiative, building on the spirit, pride and passion people have for this country to reach more potential visitors globally. Our ScotSpirit campaign has inspired a worldwide movement of more than 130,000 people, but our vision is to grow this army of voices ten-fold to ensure we are heard above the rest."
To find out more about the VisitScotland online community, visit: