Scotland’s £200 million garden tourism industry is set for a major boost with the launch of a new national network of gardens, nurseries and related businesses working together to showcase the country’s outstanding horticulture to the world. VisitScotland has awarded £30,000 to help to establish the network, which aims to highlight gardening attractions throughout the country.
“Scotland’s gardens are a huge asset,” said the network’s Chair, Catherine Erskine. “There are a number of organisations that will, for the first time, come together to maximise on the potential to grow garden tourism in this country. The best opportunity we have to do this is through a collaborative approach, working together to help people discover Scottish gardens.”
Founders include the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, National Trust for Scotland, Brightwater Holidays, Scotland’s Gardens, Attadale Gardens and Cambo Estate.
The network aims to increase visitor numbers to Scottish gardens, reap financial benefits for its members and drive national and international tourism in the gardens and natural environment sector. Already, more than 100 gardens and estates, from Castle of Mey in Caithness to Kailzie Gardens in the Borders, have signed up as members.
A £60,000 launch campaign, which includes the £30,000 contribution from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund, will take place this year. The network is working with marketing agency The Union to develop the new brand, logo and website as well as four seasonal Scottish Gardens Festivals. An official launch is planned at the Gardening Scotland event in May.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland boasts beautiful gardens the length and breadth of the country and this award from the VisitScotland Growth Fund will help provide these attractions with an exciting new marketing platform. The Growth Fund is all about encouraging Scottish tourism businesses to work together to promote sectors or destinations so we are delighted to help the new national network with a campaign I am sure will provide a major boost for horticultural tourism in this country.”
VisitScotland research has shown that every year nearly 700,000 British holidaymakers visit a Scottish garden with 35,000 of these indicating that a garden visit was the main reason for their holiday. This market is worth over £200 million to Scotland in terms of tourism spend.