Caroline Warburton, National Strategy Delivery Coordinator at the STA talks us through the highlights of 2014 and looks ahead to 2015.
After a truly memorable year we’ve put Scotland firmly on the international stage. “With the two flagship Homecoming events − the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup − we’ve proved beyond doubt we can host world-class events” Caroline says. “We’ve really upped the anti on the international stage.”
Key messages from Scottish tourism in 2014
TOURISM IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS
“We are all important parts of the customer journey, and understanding that collaboration is critical to sustaining and building on our reputation as a destination is one of our biggest messages.” Caroline says.
Tourism touches every business and organisation - from local craftspeople, musicians, shops and food outlets, to councils, utilities and transport providers. This year we’ve seen the beginning of a culture change in the transport sector (airlines, rail, ferry and coach): it sees itself as a vital part of Scottish tourism. We’ve seen a marked change in how these businesses sell Scotland as a destination, with our airports and ferry companies leading the way. “We could be looking at some radical changes when Abellio takes over the Scotrail contract in April,” Caroline adds.
COLLABORATION IS KEY
Now more than ever collaboration between businesses is an essential part of making a seamless Scottish experience, go get out there and find those shared opportunities to build on business successes.
Homecoming Scotland was bigger and better than ever before, and showed the incredible diversity of Scotland’s offering, with almost 100o events of all sizes going on around the country under its banner.
PEOPLE MAKE SCOTLAND
The message that we heard loud and clear is that the warm welcome from everyone involved in the sector is one of our greatest assets. “The ‘Glasgow Welcome’ is what made the Commonwealth Games stand out from other Games, and what makes Scotland unique,” Caroline said.
Looking ahead to tourism opportunities in 2015
2015 promises to be an exciting year ahead for tourism with the Year of Food and Drink.
Whatever your business, I would urge you to ‘think Scottish food and drink’ and really get behind the Year of Food and Drink. It’s up to everyone to highlight the best of Scotland. Together we can make real buzz,” Caroline says.
There are some very important strategic developments to come in 2015. The Marine Tourism Development group are consulting right now on a strategy to be launched in March, and World Host will roll out its Customer Experience Programme over the next few months.
Events will continue to play a major part in driving international and domestic tourism, with Scotland hosting three World and two European Championships alongside The Open and Women's British Open, the Davis Cup and the Turner Prize.
“There’s never been a better time to be in the tourism business here and we hope the momentum developed in 2014 will continue to build and grow,” Caroline concludes.