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By Visit Scotland regional director, David Adams McGilp for The Oban Times
It is Scottish Tourism Week and there have been many significant events around the country devoted to the Scottish visitor economy. National and regional conferences, summits and symposiums have focused on geographical industry development and marketing activity, sector-specific issues and how the entire country can support the growth ambition for 2020 and beyond.
The incontrovertible fact is that the visitor economy affects us all, and touches every community and every person in Scotland. That’s why keeping investment and development at the top of the list of priorities for the Scottish Government and local authorities is so important – in times of difficult spending decisions it is easy to dismiss tourism, recreation and leisure activity as luxuries and focus on core services, but the visitor economy is worth £12 billion to Scotland every year and has grown by 34 per cent in the last decade, outperforming every other sector. Blue chip corporations get really excited about growth rates of 2-3 per cent against recessionary markets so the individuals and businesses that comprise this fantastic industry are to be congratulated on doing things that clearly work.
This outstanding performance does not mean we can be complacent. For a small country Scotland already achieves visitor figures and expenditure that are envy of many bigger nations, but to maintain the status of one of the world’s top destinations we need to come up with ever more compelling reasons to explore, stay longer and spend more. That means closer and more practical partnerships that can deliver more with limited resources, and spread the message that Scotland is the best holiday destination in the world. One such example is Spirit of Scotland , a global movement dedicated to making as many people as possible aware of the outstanding experiences that this country can offer, all year round.
A fundamental principle of the Spirit of Scotland campaign is the social media activity using #ScotSpirit, which seeks to go beyond standard destination marketing and have an impact on every industry, business and person. We want everyone in Scotland and everyone who cares for Scotland irrespective of who they are to get behind #ScotSpirit. People across the world will be asked to share their experience of #ScotSpirit and to start the conversation; VisitScotland has introduced ‘the seven Spirits of Scotland’ – key traits that can be found within the characters of the people and landscapes of the country: warmth – guts – humour – determination – soul – spark – fun.
If you are not already taking part, find out more at www.visitscotland.org – there are lots of interesting and fun ways to get involved – or contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be delighted to help.
I even opened my own twitter account so I can share my experiences of Scotland with the world, and hope that everybody that cares will be motivated to shout about just want a brilliant place this is. Find me on twitter at @adamsmcgilp.
What better recommendation is there to your friends and customers than a trusted source? What more convincing marketing campaign than one delivered by Scotland’s greatest asset, its people?