The world’s eyes are on Argyll and the Isles

A tourism marketing campaign designed to raise the profile and enhance the perception of Argyll and the Isles has captured global attention following its outstanding success in attracting tourists and giving a larger awareness to the region.

The ‘Wild About Argyll’ campaign, which features Scottish endurance cyclist and record-breaker Mark Beaumont is aimed at promoting the adventure tourism potential of the region, and is a finalist in the Place Brand of the Year category at the City Nation Place Awards, writes Imogen Lovie.

These global awards are sponsored by New York Times and their purpose is to celebrate destinations that have shown exemplary work in attracting tourism, driving economic development and engaging citizens through great communications.

Argyll and the Isles will compete against other major, top destinations across the world including Toronto and Copenhagen to take the coveted prize at the global conference in London on November, 9 2017.

Mark Beaumont on the top of The Cobbler looking back towards Glasgow and the Clyde (Photo: Kieran J Duncan/ Wild About Argyll)

The ‘Wild About Argyll’ campaign, which launched in 2016, was the creation of Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC) after it was recognised that the region needed a new brand focus.

Focusing on the lucrative Adventure Seeker market, and accessing funding from multiple funders including Visit Scotland, AITC took cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont on an ambitious 12-day journey across the entire region, including tons of different sports, adventures and challenges every single day. 

The results were a series of films that have been seen by over 1.6m people online (with more than half a million of them liking, commenting or sharing), over 1.1m subway users in Glasgow, 200,000 cinemagoers across the central belt, 15,000 people per day departing Edinburgh Airport, the website saw a 79 per cent increase in traffic from millennials (the key target for the campaign) and to top it all of a hashtag #wildaboutargyll had an amazing 3.7 million+ impressions on twitter alone within a week.

AITC teamed up with Glasgow Life during the campaign to celebrate the unique relationship between the City and Scotland’s Adventure Coast, and have even more greater and ambitious plans for 2018. Since the brand is so successful, AITC has managed to snag a three year funding package from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop food, drink, events and festivals that are linked to adventure. To produce the campaign in the first place, AITC received £40,000 Growth Fund money from Visit Scotland to specifically develop the ‘Wild about Argyll’ brand, this funding boost was then match-funded by Argyll & Bute Council.  

Kilchurn Castle reflections in Loch Awe

Malcolm Roughed, chief executive of Visit Scotland said: “As soon as we read the proposal for the campaign, we were excited, but it was a whole new market and direction for the region and with that comes a good deal of risk. That calculated risk has paid off immensely and we are absolutely delighted that AITC has been recognized for its work in completely revolutionizing the place brand for the region.”

Cyclist Mark Beaumont said: “Wild About Argyll was such an inspiring project to be at the heart of, I was blown away by the pride and enthusiasm from everyone in the region, it felt like this publicity campaign had been crying out to happen. Argyll has been overlooked as a wilderness destination.  It may have been known for its sailors and empty nesters, but Argyll and the West Coast Isles have amazing landscapes and sports – and people have been missing one of Scotland best adventure playgrounds.  Wild about Argyll has turned that on its head.”

Calum Ross, chair of AITC said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the Wild about Argyll place brand recognized internationally and sharing a stage with some high profile destinations. Wild about Argyll has captured the tremendous spirit of collaboration we have in Argyll.”

Visit: to find out more about Argyll and the Isles.