Bringing more tourists to the Forth Valley

A new collaborative campaign will promote the Forth Valley as an accessible visitor destination for the first time with the support of VisitScotland.

Forth Valley Accessibility Tourism Promotion, which brings together four geographic areas across Scotland to target the Accessible Tourism market, has received a £19,800 VisitScotland Growth Fund award. The Growth Fund, delivered by the national tourism organisation supports national, regional and sectoral tourism groups across Scotland to deliver partnership marketing campaigns.

Led by Falkirk Delivers, in collaboration with Falkirk and Stirling Councils, Discover Clackmannanshire and Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, as well as local businesses across the four areas, the campaign will create a suite of downloadable and print itineraries as well as three films highlighting the full range of accessible attractions and accommodation providers in the area. The itineraries will be tailored for visitors with Autism, Dementia and Mobility issues and will cover three themes; Family Fun, Heritage and Outdoor activity.

The films and itineraries will be promoted via digital channels to people in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Northern England. By raising the profile of the Forth Valley as an accessible destination to a new audience, the campaign aims to increase the number of visitors to the area, as well as the length of their stay and the amount they spend.

A 6th year pupil at Falkirk High will be supporting the development of the itineraries as he is fully aware of the challenges faced by visitors to the area with access requirements. The campaign has also received support from the Changing Places Working Group and Euan’s Guide, and has been in contact with PAMIS, Simply Emma, the Forth Valley Sensory Centre, Oovirt and Alzheimer’s Scotland.

There is currently limited accessibility information on the individual business and destination platforms of the areas involved in the campaign meaning visitors with access requirements struggle to plan their visits to the Forth Valley.

With 54% of visitors with access requirements avoiding a venue if they can’t find accessibility information, it is hoped this project will encourage the partners and local businesses to complete a VisitScotland Accessibility Guide and also list themselves on Euan’s Guide.

Research shows that one in five people in the UK are disabled. This includes not only wheelchair users, but also people with hearing loss, visual impairments and learning and development disabilities. In 2015, £1.3 billion was spent in Scotland on trips where a member of the party had an impairment. This includes day trips, domestic overnight trips and inbound trips.

Marina Di Duca, VisitScotland Inclusive Tourism Manager, said: ‘It is our aim to make tourism inclusive and accessible for all, so that every single person can benefit from all that Scotland has to offer. I’m very pleased that four areas of the Forth Valley have come together to showcase their accessible offering.

‘This collaborative campaign will help attract the lucrative Accessible Tourism market to the Forth Valley and I’m delighted it could be supported by our Growth Fund award. At VisitScotland we want to champion collaboration and spearhead innovation to ensure every part of the country can enjoy the benefits of tourism.’

The  Growth Fund supports collaborative tourism marketing projects which focus on growth and ensure that visitors experience the best of Scotland. To be eligible for a Growth Fund award, applicants must place a strong emphasis on digital marketing and the creation of digital content assets.