VisitScotland encourage people to shop local

Ballater’s VisitScotland iCentre is the venue for a festive Shop Local ‘Meet the Maker’ event later this week.

There will be an opportunity for visitors to not only buy unique and locally-produced gifts at the event – part of Ballater Winter Festival – but to also meet the person who has created it.

The iCentre will be open as usual from 10am on Friday 23 November and Meet the Maker runs from noon to 3pm. There will be an opportunity to see the new iCentre which opened in the summer, learn more about the information it can provide and browse the beautiful gifts on sale.

Products being showcased at the event include those from Kincardine Kitchen, Arra Textiles and Royal Lochanagar Distillery.
Kincardine Kitchen will be offering samples from their product range, a representative from Arra Textiles will be weaving in the centre and Royal Lochnagar Distillery will also have samples available.

Situated in Royal Deeside, Arra Textiles is a collection of luxury accessories handwoven by local designer, Lucy MacDonald. Inspired by the ever-changing seascapes and landscapes of Scotland, each limited edition piece is designed and created in Lucy’s studio, just 15 miles from Ballater.

There will be goodie bags with samples from the local suppliers and a Shop Local prize draw hamper worth £150.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland regional director, said: ‘I am delighted that through this event, our visitors – both locally and those from further afield – will get the chance to meet some of the Shop Local suppliers we work with here in Ballater.

‘Research has shown that visitors are looking for local products and are willing to spend more on high quality goods that support the local economy, as well as reflecting the culture and history of Scotland.

‘Everyone will be given a very warm welcome at the Ballater iCentre, where the Shop Local products really reflect the crafts and artisans in this region.’

In May 2017, VisitScotland launched its exciting new retail initiative Shop Local and since then, hundreds of local crafters have joined the scheme. The national tourism organisation now works with 12 Shop Local suppliers in Ballater.

Initially launched as a pilot in 2016, Shop Local has now been rolled out across the country, offering the opportunity for communities, local businesses, craft makers, artists, designers and other artisans to promote and sell their products to visitors via the VisitScotland iCentre network.

The initiative is aimed not at the established Scottish designers but at regional artisans without a real retail platform. It has been developed to provide a unique sales channel for small businesses producing ‘Made in Scotland’ products, offering visitors the chance to take an authentic, locally-produced piece of Scotland home with them.

Separate to the Shop Local event, on 24 November, designer Helen Ruth will be doing an illustration in the centre and hosting a scarf tying workshop.

VisitScotland’s Ballater iCentre officially reopened in the town’s Old Royal Station in August 2018 following the completion of a major refurbishment project.

As one of 26-regional hubs in Scotland, visitors are greeted by iconic and inspirational imagery of breathtaking Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms National Park adorning the walls.

Free WiFi and a range of leaflets and maps help visitors to plan and book their stay. It is Royal Deeside’s official source on everything there is to see and do in Aberdeenshire, the Cairngorms National Park and beyond.

Accommodation booking and ticketing services have been retained and visitors are encouraged to pop in and speak to VisitScotland’s information experts who will offer inspiration and advice on what there is to see and do.