Tourism reconnects with the world again

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VisitScotland is linking more than eight individual tourism businesses from Ayrshire and Arran, as well as destination organisations representing many more, with global tour operators and travel agents in vital international markets, through the second virtual event of its kind.

More than 280 Scottish businesses are virtually exhibiting at VisitScotland’s Scotland Reconnect 2021, from April 27-29, aiming to connect and do business with around 330 tour operators and travel agents from around the world.

The online travel trade workshop event exclusively promotes Scotland and enables Scottish businesses to connect with buyers in important international markets, to attract visitors and help rebuild the country’s tourism industry following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019, international visitors made 3.5 million overnight stays in Scotland, spending £2.5 billion, which is 43 per cent of the total overnight spend. Inbound passenger numbers to the UK in July 2020 were 89 per cent fewer at 1.3 million passenger arrivals, down from 11.1 million arrivals in July 2019.

Bellevue Farm in Blackwaterfoot is taking part along with destination organisations VisitArran and The Coig, which will represent many member businesses and in addition nationwide organisations like The National Trust for Scotland which operates Brodick Castle, are among others are attending.

The inaugural Scotland Reconnect event last November involved 5,000 meetings and this year, buyers from 26 countries, including the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Australia, Brazil and the Middle East are attending, as well as London-based inbound operators representing the Japanese and Chinese markets.

Delegates will take part in 1-2-1 meetings, as well as round table discussions on the latest issues affecting world travel and tourism.

There will be a chance to hear about new tourism product offerings, trends like agritourism and adventure tourism and VisitScotland’s drive towards responsible tourism.

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland regional director, said: ‘VisitScotland supports members of the tourism industry in Ayrshire and Arran in their aspirations to internationalise and to attract more business and income from international markets as travel restrictions are eased in 2021.

‘The last 12 months have been extremely challenging for tourism businesses but we had a good regional turnout to the inaugural event in November and feedback was very positive. Hopefully businesses will continue to engage and convert that continuing interest into visits.

‘Demand is building and Ayrshire and Arran tourism businesses are ready to offer a warm welcome back to visitors when the time is right.

‘Scottish tourism punches above its weight on the world stage and we need to leverage this reputation to bring new investment, new events, new airlines and new visitors once visitors can travel freely in 2021/22 again.

‘Until Expo can return safely, Scotland Reconnect is the next best way to keep Scotland at the forefront of people’s minds.’