Marcus Hyka, a 15 year-old pupil from Glasgow’s East End has officially launched the Scottish Tourism Alliance Signature Conference, stepping forward with broadcaster and journalist Stephen Jardine on stage this morning at Glasgow’s SEC.
Marcus’ first task as host was to introduce a special video link address to the tourism industry from Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Praising the hard work and creativity of industry, the First Minister said; “In the past year, tourism in Scotland reached new heights. Total spend by domestic and overseas tourists in Scotland exceeded £5 billion. That remarkable success is testament to the hard work, expertise, and creativity of everybody working in our tourism industry.
“It’s also a result of the constructive partnership that exists between the industry and government. The Scottish Tourism Alliance plays an invaluable role in that partnership - as a voice for the industry, helping identify and raise awareness of the key issues facing the sector.”
“Working together, I’m confident we can further enhance Scotland’s status as a world-class tourist destination. And in doing so, we can improve the prosperity and wellbeing of communities across the country.”
The tourism conference also coincided with the publication of the facts and figures relating to the economic contribution of Scotland’s tourism industry. Published by Scottish Government on behalf of the Tourism Leadership Group, ‘Tourism in Scotland: The Economic Contribution of the Sector’ gives an overview of tourism in Scotland in relation to visitors to Scotland, the make up of Scotland’s tourism sector and the contribution tourism makes to Scotland’s economy overall.
The Scottish Government’s ‘Year of Young People 2018’ Focus Year provided an important backdrop for the day, with over 100 students and rising stars from Scotland’s tourism industry joining 350+ industry leaders for the event.
Conference sessions focussed on areas such as innovation, entrepreneurship, meeting the expectations of the future traveller and connecting with new audiences in an increasingly competitive digital marketing world. Scotland’s food tourism opportunity was also explored and the latest insights and data on tourism trends and the economic forecast were shared by leading economists and analysts.
The event welcomed internationally acclaimed speakers such as futurist and author, Graeme Codrington from South Africa; home grown talent in the form of the TENS Sunglasses founders, Marty Bell and Kris Reid; Louise Marshall, Scotland’s National Piper and award winning hotelier, founder of Campbell Gray Hotels and environmentalist, Gordon Campbell Gray amongst many others.
The annual event was due to take place on 1 March, however as the ‘Beast from the East’ descended, the decision was made to postpone the event to ensure the safety of delegates due to travel to the conference from all over Scotland.
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance:
“The event was supposed to kick off the very first Scottish Tourism Month, a new opportunity for everyone in Scotland’s tourism sector to get involved in these industry events and conversations happening all over the country and also to take inspiration and insights from some of the tourism world’s leading experts. Obviously this is now happening at the end of the month long event which in many ways has been fortunate timing as it allows us to recap on these different conversations that have been happening and provide our delegates with the real picture of the challenges and opportunities that Scotland’s tourism industry is facing. This has been our biggest conference to date and we look forward to building on the success of the event for Scottish Tourism Month 2019.”
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“Tourism in Scotland employs 207,000 people and attracts total visitor spend in excess of £9 billion. It is highly appropriate, therefore, that a new publication to highlight the vital economic contribution made by the tourism industry is being launched at Scotland’s national tourism conference
This report brings together key data on the tourism sector and the positive economic contribution it makes to communities the length and breadth of Scotland, particularly in rural and remote areas. I am sure it will prove to be an excellent resource as we work with partners and the industry to deliver our shared ambitions for Scottish tourism.”