Local tourist businesses are being encouraged to tap into the expected growth in Scottish visitor numbers in the run-up to 2014, when the country will host the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and a year-long ‘Homecoming Scotland’ celebration.
Tourism minister Fergus Ewing has encouraged companies to take advantage of the anticipated business opportunities in a new Events, Festivals and Cultural Tourism in Scotland guide, published by Tourism Intelligence Scotland as part of its Opportunities for Growth series.
The guide is available to businesses who register at www.tourism-intelligence.co.uk.
Mr Ewing said: “I very much welcome this guide which will enable tourism businesses all over the country to benefit from the many exciting events which are taking place over the next two years and will attract so many visitors to this country.
“Scotland’s vibrant tourism industry makes a substantial contribution to our economy and the Scottish Government and our enterprise and tourism agencies are determined to help businesses seize the enormous economic opportunities in the run up to 2014.
“In addition to our established events and festivals, the release and European premiere of Disney-Pixar’s Brave this summer has captured the imagination of many people globally, the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and second year of Homecoming in 2014 will further raise Scotland’s profile.”
Audrey MacLennan, senior tourism manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “Events, festivals and cultural tourism are a thriving part of the Highlands and Islands and are bringing real economic benefits to the communities involved.
“Businesses working together to create a number of complementary events and experiences can offer even more to the visitor and can tempt them to stay longer, return year after year and can boost out of season bookings.
“We hope that the success stories showcasing activity across Scotland featured in the guide offer advice to others looking for ideas and inspiration.”
The new guide provides tourism operators with the latest intelligence on Scotland’s events and cultural tourism markets along with a raft of practical hints, tips and ideas to help them make the most of the year-round opportunities for their business.
Ideas include giving visitors information on transfer options to and from event venues, providing themed offers for those attending specialist events and festivals, offering a range of relaxation options for event participants during off times, and providing visitors with details about authentic Scottish eating options.
VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “Scotland is preparing for the best opportunity for tourism in decades - with two world famous events and a call for everyone to come home in 2014.
“No matter where businesses are in Scotland, there will be things happening near them all year round. And whether they are world-class ventures or local events, a significant proportion of the visitor spend ends up in the pockets of tourism businesses.
“All of these events and festivals present an opportunity to raise the profile of Scotland and extend our world famous welcome.
“It’s up to tourism businesses to make the most of what’s on locally and work together to use this to encourage more visitors to the area and give them good reason to stay longer and to come back for more.
“This guide will show tourism operators how to do just that and grow their business at the same time.”