Scottish tourism – a vision for 2020 and beyond – will be the central theme at a week of talks, conferences, Q & A sessions, events and networking receptions at this year’s Scottish Tourism Week.
The Signature Programme which starts the week of March 11, is organised by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), the industry body that represents the sector. A strong show of support from many private sector organisations such as Heritage Portfolio, Mercat Tours, Lux Events, The Caves & The Caravan Club of GB coupled with similar support from public organisations including VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh City Council and Forestry Commission Scotland has enabled this high calibre Signature Programme to be brought together .
The programme which includes a parliamentary reception on the 11th and a signature conference on the 12th and 13th hosted by journalist and broadcaster, Stephen Jardine, will focus on what the Scottish tourism industry can and must do to capitalise on 2014 and build for the future, highlighting the message that tourism is ‘everybody’s business’.
The credibility of the STA and it being the acknowledged national tourism industry leadership group has resulted in the organisation being able to bring together many leading authorities in tourism, marketing, hospitality, leisure and finance to discuss how the Scottish tourism industry can achieve the vision of the future and deliver one common goal for 2020 and beyond – to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience, delivered by skilled and passionate people.
The STA’s inaugural conference in 2013 was a massive success, kicking off the biggest Scottish Tourism Week to date, with over 9,500 of industry members attending a range of events all over the country.
The agenda not only addresses the big issues that face the industry but also highlights the opportunities that lie ahead. It has been designed with input from those connected with tourism in Scotland, including the wider visitor economy – the tourism community, business sectors, retail and communications.
Sharing knowledge, insights and best practice to support the growth of Scottish tourism over 2014 and for the future is the mainstay of the event and this year’s conference will showcase representatives from some of the world’s leading industry bodies and experts in marketing, finance, skills, technology, and business leadership.
A ‘Dinner with a Difference’, will take place on the Wednesday evening in one of Edinburgh’s most unique venues, The Caves, showcasing Scotland’s larder, acting as the perfect pre cursor to celebrate 2015 The Year of Food and Drink.
Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism said: “Scottish tourism is going through a bit of a golden era at the moment and I’m delighted to see the industry strengthening and coming together to make the most of opportunities this year and beyond. As far as marketing our country goes, VisitScotland is one of the best in the world and I am confident that this will not only mark a landmark year for tourism in Scotland but will provide the foundation we need to grow the industry into one of the main economic drivers for Scotland. There is however no room for complacency; we need to improve quality and we need to continue to build on our strong Food and Drink industry and get more of what Scotland produces out there on to plates. We look forward to welcoming our friends in the south and from overseas to our country this year, the next year and for years to come to enjoy all of what we have to offer.”
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: “We have a thriving tourism industry which we can be proud of; however, as tourism has grown, so too have visitor demands. Tourist expectations have become more sophisticated and it is our business to ensure that visitors to Scotland leave having had a rounded, quality visit, every time. Tourism really is everybody’s business and the potential for tourism to grow into one of Scotland’s main economic drivers cannot be underestimated. The 2014 conference is about looking ahead, capitalising on opportunities and continuing to work with a more joined up approach to strengthen our tourism industry and remain competitive on the global stage.”
Stephen Leckie, Chair of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: “Scottish Tourism Week 2014 represents a unique opportunity to build a lasting legacy for the tourism industry in Scotland. We all have a part to play on the stage, however large or small, not just in this extraordinary year we have ahead, but as we continue to welcome the world in the years to come. A collaborative approach is what is needed now to overcome the current challenges within our industry and our barriers to growth. We are all acutely aware of what we are up against, however, all challenges can be overcome with shared knowledge and vision, partnership and collaboration and the spirit of determination. I have no doubt that Scottish Tourism Week will be an even bigger success this year. Never has tourism in Scotland felt quite so alive.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “This conference is a unique opportunity to get everyone thinking about how 2014 can be the launchpad for future tourism success. Success will be reflected in the growth in the visitor economy in 2015 and 2016 and investment in Scottish tourism now is the only way to achieve that goal.”
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Notes to Editors
- The Scottish Tourism Alliance was formed in 2012, an evolution of the Scottish Tourism Forum which was established in 1998 to act as the ‘voice of the tourism industry in Scotland’.
- The primary role of the STA is to lead, facilitate and co-ordinate the ongoing development and delivery of the National Strategy: Tourism Scotland 2020, industry wide, to make Scotland a destination of first choice for a high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience.
- One of the Scottish Tourism Alliance’s key objectives for 2014 is to help support individual business, marketing services, trade associations, local area tourism groups and any organisation with an active interest in tourism to realise their potential by maximising on the opportunities that are coming our way this year and to build on this to ensure future growth of our industry.
- Held over three days, the STA Signature Conference offers delegates the opportunity to network at a number of events, hear a selection of keynote speakers discuss the issues and challenges which affect tourism in Scotland and listen to industry experts sharing advice and insights to support the growth of all the businesses actively involved in the Scottish tourism industry for today and tomorrow.
- The role of the STA is also to “lead on industry matters”, collaborating with and representing industry views to government and agencies, bringing public and private players together to encourage the voicing of opinion about problems and priorities to find solutions. The STA also acts as the united voice of the Scottish tourism industry to represent the “bigger” issues and bring about the changes needed at all levels to ensure future growth of the tourism industry and the economy.
- The STA connects directly and indirectly through membership by association with 70% -75% of the sector, membership has doubled within the last two years and continues to grow at pace.
- The STA also provides a number of platforms for networking across industry sectors through regular events, the largest of which is its Signature Conference which takes place during Scottish Tourism Week in March.
- Hot topics for discussion and debate at this year’s event include ‘The Digital Tourist’, ‘Innovation’, ‘Working with the Future Generation’, ‘Marketing Scotland to the World’, ‘Defining Your Brand with Great Customer Service’, ‘Scotland’s Global Competiveness Challenge” and central to this year’s theme; ‘Tourism is Everyone’s Business – Delivering an Authentic Quality Experience’.
- Speakers including two Government Ministers, John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth and Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism as well as Dr Paul Redmond from Liverpool University, Bob Thomson President of The Calgary Stampede, Professor Aaron Quigley from the University of St Andrews, Dr Mike Cantlay from VisitScotland, Ellis Watson CEO DC Thompson & Co Ltd and Linda Moir, A Leader of Service Delivery London 2012, will focus on the opportunities 2014 will bring to Scottish tourism and will outline a future vision of success.
- Sponsors and supporters of this year’s event include VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Forestry Commission Scotland, The Caravan Club, Excelsior Liberty Wines, Raddison Blu, Lux Events, The Caravan Club, Simon Williams Photography, Loch Fyne Oysters Co, The Caves, Mercat Tours, Carins & Scott and Edinburgh City Council.
- One of the highlight’s of this year’s event is the ‘Dinner with a Difference’, which will be held at The Caves in Edinburgh on the Wednesday evening, offering guests the opportunity to enjoy the finest Scottish Fayre in a market style setting and to socialise and network with members of the industry. Entertainment will be provided by Mercat Tours who promise that guests will be “enthralled and entertained by the most colourful characters Edinburgh’s past has to offer, sharing tales of innovation, intrigue and infamy weaving back centuries.”
- To view the full programme for this year’s Scottish Tourism Week conference, please visit http://scottishtourismalliance.co.uk/
- Delegate packages for the two day conference including ‘Dinner with a Difference’ start at £175 for STA Members. Individual Day Delegate packages also available
- A 10% Earlybird discount will be offered to all delegates who book and pay before 13 February.