At an event attended by Scottish Land & Estates on Wednesday this week, VisitScotland launched its biggest ever nature-focused tourism drive, highlighting the country’s natural environment and designed to get the Scottish population out of their armchairs and into the countryside for the Year of Natural Scotland 2013.
VisitScotland Chairman, Mike Cantlay unveiled the Year of Natural Scotland TV advert – the centre piece of the £3.4 million campaign - which is expected to bring a return of some £68m to the Scottish economy. The campaign will target the key domestic market as well as seven international markets including North America, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands and Scandinavia through a range of marketing activity.
At the launch, Tourism Minister, Fergus Ewing highlighted the many reasons to be optimistic about Scotland’s tourism profile, not least the news that American TV giant CNN had named Scotland as the world’s number one destination. The Minister also launched the Big April Adventure which aims to get people out and about as much as possible this spring, coinciding with the first ever John Muir Day on April 21 which celebrates the 175th anniversary of the Scottish-born “father of National Parks’”.
Caledonian MacBrayne have provided 10,000 tickets (foot passengers only), ScotRail 5,000 tickets and Stagecoach 5,000 money-off vouchers. Anyone can apply for tickets for the Big April Adventures and winners will be drawn on a random basis in the form of the ballot which will open for applications at the end of February.
Fergus Ewing MSP, Tourism Minister, said: “The new advert that VisitScotland has put together shows off our country at its very best and I’m sure that majestic scenes that are depicted will entice as many people as possible to come and visit Scotland during this the Year of Natural Scotland.
“The Big April Adventures is a superb initiative led by VisitScotland and I’m delighted that Scotland’s transport providers have been so supportive so far. Throughout 2013 I want to see as many Scots as possible get out and see our wonderful country for themselves and a scheme like the Big April Adventures is a brilliant way for people to get involved.”
The new television advert depicts some of the country’s most iconic natural environments. Scenes include gannets on Ailsa Craig off the Ayrshire coast and red deer on the Isle of Rum. Additional scenes show white water rafting in Perthshire, mountain biking at Torridon in the Highlands, the beach at Arisaig in the West Highlands, Pittenweem Arts Festival in Fife, Andy Goldsworthy’s Striding Arches in Dumfries & Galloway and the Aurora Borealis in Shetland.
The advert, which follows on from a Year of Creative Scotland version last year that was seen by more than 18 million adults per quarter, will air for the first time on Friday during the STV programme Great Night Out. It will also run in UK cinemas over the coming weeks before screenings of Les Miserables.
Mike Cantlay, VisitScotland Chairman, said: “The Year of Natural Scotland is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Scotland’s spectacular natural environment and our new advert shows the country in all its majestic glory, ranging from wildlife to exciting outdoor activities. “The Big April Adventures is quite simply a magnificent opportunity for people to travel to the wonderful Scottish landscapes for free. We are extremely grateful to Calmac, ScotRail and Stagecoach for their generosity in this initiative and we hope that as many people as possible sign up for these tickets and experience our beautiful country for themselves.”