Three friends walk the route to The Three Brethren
cairns on the Southern Upland Way Scottish Borders

VisitScotland unveils plans to support recovery of tourism

A multi-million pound global marketing campaign is set to bolster the recovery of Scotland’s valuable tourism and events industry by encouraging younger visitors to make Scotland their top travel choice this year.

With 16-34 year olds expected to be among the first to travel this year, and global insights suggesting this age range will lead international travel market’s post-COVID revival, VisitScotland is focusing the next phase of Scotland is Calling on attracting younger visitors. It aims to ensure Scotland is at the front of mind with those who are yet to make their travel plans.

In 2019, Scotland welcomed 3.5 million overnight international visitors, which generated 43% of the total tourism spend that year. Figures over the same period show that visitors aged 16-34-year-old were worth an average of £1.5bn to the Scottish economy.

It is hoped attracting younger visitors back to Scotland will kickstart a meaningful recovery for the industry, which has been one of the greatest economic casualties of the pandemic. 2022 will mark, what is hoped to be, the first full year of trading for many tourism and event businesses.

The £8.5million campaign, which launches during Scottish Tourism Month, is running in key markets such as America, France, Germany, and the UK. It will target people who are already thinking about their next holiday and includes partnerships with brands like National Geographic, Expedia, Facebook and NBC.

Three friends walk the route to The Three Brethren cairns on the Southern Upland Way in the Scottish Borders

A specially-created video will draw on how it feels to visit Scotland by highlighting the country’s breath-taking scenery and unmissable experiences through the eyes of visitors.

It is accompanied by an inspiring track covered by up and coming Fife-based singer Cameron Barnes.

Research suggests overseas visitors stay longer and spend more, with their return seen as a critical milestone in the recovery of Scotland’s valuable tourism and events industry.

VisitScotland’s Scotland is Calling campaign is part of an international demand building programme. One of several
tourism recovery proposals developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG), funded by the Scottish Government, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. VisitScotland has also allocated additional budget towards activity in the UK to support a growing trend towards staycations.

Since its launch in 2021, the Scotland is Calling video has been viewed by over 40m potential visitors.

In addition, traffic to has increased by up to 70% from priority markets, and SEO (Search Engine ptimisation) searches for Scotland has risen by 16%.

Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: ‘The Scottish Government is well aware of how heavily the tourism sector has been hit since the beginning of the pandemic and understands the role of the sector in our economic recovery as we start to see more international travellers coming to experience all that Scotland has to offer.

Paddleboarding in Oban

‘The Scotland is Calling campaign will benefit every part of the tourism sector, in particular international inbound operators to rebuild after the challenges of Covid.’

Vicki Miller, VisitScotland director of marketing and digital, said: ‘We understand the huge challenges the industry has faced, and continues to face.
VisitScotland wants to kickstart the meaningful, sustainable and responsible recovery of Scottish tourism and the return of international visitors marks a crucial stage of that journey.

‘This next phase of Scotland is Calling will help build new, deeper connections with visitors in our key markets, inspiring them to plan a trip to Scotland in the future.

‘We are focusing on audiences we know want to travel again and using the channels we know they use to help show how Scotland can fulfil their emotional needs. While younger visitors are expected to travel sooner, we recognise the importance of our core audience and continue to engage and inspire them about all that a visit to Scotland can offer.

‘Working together with industry, stakeholders, and the Scottish Government we want to increase momentum and ensure that Scotland is the destination of choice for all visitors in 2022 and beyond.’

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