With only two months to go till the Year of Natural Scotland officially gets underway in 2013, Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing has been urging Scotland’s visitor attractions to get involved. Speaking at the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions annual conference in Falkirk, Mr Ewing outlined how the twelve months showcasing Scotland’s outstanding natural environment has significant potential to boost visitor numbers.
He also met Ellen Walker of the travel company Brightwater Holidays. It is one of the first companies to take advantage of the Year of Natural Scotland branding which features prominently in their new brochure that is to be distributed across the UK.
The Year of Natural Scotland is the next of the Scottish Government’s Focus Years showcasing some of our best known tourism assets as we progress towards our second Year of Homecoming Scotland in 2014. The Year of Natural Scotland follows the Year of Food and Drink, the Year of Active Scotland and the Year of Creative Scotland.
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The Year of Natural Scotland provides us with an excellent opportunity to make the most of Scotland’s magnificent natural heritage and increase visitor numbers in the process. "I am encouraging everyone at home and abroad to discover or rediscover Scotland by getting out and seeing some of our world renowned scenery, wildlife and other natural attractions which will boost business and enhance both the local and national economies.
"Tourism attractions across the country can get involved by using the toolkit which is available on VisitScotland’s website and by thinking now about how they can make the most of this opportunity. Brightwater Holidays is already on board and I know many others are doing the same. "The Focus Years have been a great success and the figures speak for themselves. Over half a million people attended events and activities celebrating the Year of Food and Drink, we saw a 6 per cent increase in "active" participation levels during the Year of Active Scotland and the messaging around the Year of Creative Scotland has already reached almost 70 million people across the globe.
"Together we can build on this success for the Year of Natural Scotland and keep the momentum going for the second year of Homecoming in 2014 when Scotland will take centre stage in world terms as host of two of the largest events in the world, The Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup."
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: "The Year of Natural Scotland is a great opportunity for Scottish tourism businesses to showcase exactly what this country has to offer. It is great to see that, already, we are seeing businesses such as Brightwater Holidays seizing the initiative and highlighting the Year of Natural Scotland. I would encourage all Scottish tourism businesses to think about ways that they, too, can get involved and take advantage of this unique celebration. Not only is the Year of Natural Scotland about putting Scotland’s stunning landscapes on the world stage, it is also about boosting the visitor economy and putting cash in the tills of tourism businesses throughout Scotland."
Ellen Walker from Brightwater said; "The Year of Natural Scotland is the perfect timing for Brightwater Holidays to launch its new marketing division under the brand Brightwater Scotland. "We have built up an enviable reputation over the last 20 years for our personable service and a range of Scottish Holidays that is second to none. Our Scottish Garden Holidays, Island Breaks and Archaeological Tours are the perfect fit for The Year of Natural Scotland. "We are delighted to launch Brightwater Scotland - in association with Visit Scotland and the Year of Natural Scotland 2013."