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Travel trade event showcases the best of the Highlands

By Niall Harkiss

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A small group of international tour operators/travel agents are visiting the region on a number of fam trips as part of Discover Scotland. Photo VisitScotland / Newsline Media
A small group of international tour operators/travel agents are visiting the region on a number of fam trips as part of Discover Scotland. Photo VisitScotland / Newsline Media

Tour operators, travel agents and destination management companies from the UK and around the world have been sampling the best of the tourism offering in the Highlands, the Cairngorms and Moray Speyside during a series of familiarisation trips as part of VisitScotland’s brand-new travel trade event.

Discover Scotland 2022 has, for the first time this year, combined an online business-to-business event, known as Discover Scotland: Reconnect 2022, which took place last month, with regional showcases, known as Discover Scotland: Live Showcase being held in May and September 2022.

These showcases focus on the promotion of trade-ready responsible and sustainable Scottish tourism businesses and their products, to key buyers from more than 10 international markets.

The second showcase - following a similar one in Aberdeenshire and Tayside - brought a different group of 27 international buyers, who were split into three groups to visit locations, hotels and attractions in the Highlands, Cairngorms and Moray Speyside, over a four-day period earlier this month.

Among the countries and territories represented on the trips were Scotland’s key markets – the UK, Canada, the USA, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Italy the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as the emerging markets of China and Japan.

The groups visited a number of locations and attractions in the region, including a trip to the Dundreggan Rewilding Centre (Trees for Life), lunch at the Kingsmills Hotel, a rib boat cruise and wildlife watching with Dolphin Spirit out of Inverness Marina, dinner at the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, accommodation at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness; a trip to Cawdor Castle and a tour of Benromach Distillery.

Members of the groups also enjoyed a tour of both the Speyside Cooperage and Brodie Castle, a tour and lunch at Johnstons of Elgin, a tour of Blervie House near Forres and dinner at the Town House in Inverness.

Buyers also visited and lunched at the Alvie Estate, had a tour of the Highland Wildlife Park at Kingussie, gin tasting at Kinrara Distillery and dinner at Glenmoriston Town House Hotel. They also visited Blair Castle at Blair Atholl and the Murrayshall Hotel in Perth.

Discover Scotland 2022 is the only travel trade series that exclusively promotes Scotland as a visitor destination and enables Scottish businesses to connect with key buyers from around the globe to help attract visitors, from near and far, to Scotland and help rebuild Scotland’s valuable tourism industry.

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland regional leadership director, said: "These important in-person regional showcases have really complemented the virtual event and are a part of VisitScotland’s approach to building back responsibly.

"They allow key international and UK buyers to refamiliarise themselves with Scotland, meet up with local businesses, as well as experiencing the best of our regional offering for themselves.

"It has been fantastic to see these groups immerse themselves in the Highlands and Moray Speyside and experience for themselves a small selection of what makes them so attractive and appealing to visitors.

"As consumer confidence begins to grow again, demand is building for international travel.

"Discover Scotland 2022 Live Showcases are the first step to the safe return of small-scale, limited numbered in-person live trade fair and workshop events, as an important part of how we are showcasing Scotland post-pandemic."

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