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Routing for tourism

VisitScotland last year helped to secure new air routes worth over £46 million to the Scottish economy, it was revealed today.

As part of the Team Scotland* approach to route development, the national tourism organisation worked through 2016 with airlines including Delta, British Airways, Air Canada Rouge and KLM to introduce 12 new routes from both short-haul and long-haul destinations, including Paris, New York and, for the first time, Seoul. 

These routes brought an estimated total of 122,000 visitors inbound to Scotland over a 12-month period, with an estimated associated net direct economic impact of £46.3m**.

The new services included links to major global air hubs including New York JFK to Edinburgh, operated by Delta, and Paris Charles de Gaulle to Glasgow, operated by Air France. Routes also included services opening up wider Scottish regions such as the Highlands via connectivity with major hubs, with both KLM from Amsterdam Schiphol and British Airways from London Heathrow direct into Inverness. 

The announcement comes ahead of VisitScotland Expo 2017, where airlines are further demonstrating their support for Scottish tourism growth and VisitScotland will be working with the biggest number of airline partners in the event’s 38-year history.

Held on 26 and 27 April, the organisation’s flagship travel trade show will see 276 tourism businesses – including hotels, visitor attractions and activity providers – from all over Scotland exhibiting at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

VisitScotland has partnered with eight airlines – including Qatar, Etihad and Finnair – on Expo, which will see more than 600 tour operators from all over the world flying in to Glasgow to meet face-to-face with Scottish tourism businesses.

Working with the airlines to encourage new routes and grow capacity on existing services from key markets, VisitScotland will facilitate meetings between the top sales agents for the airlines and tourism businesses from around Scotland. Members of the national tourism organisation’s marketing team will additionally be attending the Routes Europe 2017 Aviation Conference in Belfast, which also takes place next week.  

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:“VisitScotland is playing a major role in helping to bring new airlines to Scotland through innovative marketing partnerships on key routes, meaning that as a destination we are now better connected than ever. Our work in growing Scotland’s air route network is not only important for growing inbound leisure tourism, but also supports growth across all sectors of the economy. 

“The fact that alone these 12 new routes have contributed £46.3 million to the economy shows the value of working closely with airlines, helping to build the case for and support the marketing of new and expanding routes into Scotland. VisitScotland Expo 2017 is another fantastic opportunity to showcase everything this country has to offer in front of a global audience.”

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “Expanding Scotland’s global connectivity is one of the Scottish Government’s prime objectives. These figures show that the 12 new air routes are already having a positive impact on the country’s economy, supporting business connectivity and opening up our tourism sector to new international markets.

“The success of these routes also underlines the value of the ‘Team Scotland’ approach, which sees the Scottish Government and its agencies work with our airports to attract airlines to fly to and from Scotland. I look forward to more new routes being won through this collaborative approach in the years to come.

“VisitScotland Expo 2017 is another excellent opportunity to put our partnership working into practice and I wish everyone involved with the event every success.”

To find out more about VisitScotland Expo 2017, go to


VisitScotland-supported new air routes to Scotland in 2016:


• Delta: New York JFK to Edinburgh

• Air Transat: Montreal to Glasgow

• Air Canada Rouge: Toronto to Glasgow

• Air Iceland/Icelandair: Keflavik to Aberdeen

• WOW Air: Keflavik to Edinburgh

• Hanjin Travel: Seoul to Glasgow

• KLM: Amsterdam Schiphol to Inverness

• Finnair: Helsinki to Edinburgh

• British Airways: London Heathrow to Inverness

• Transavia: Paris Orly to Edinburgh

• Air France: Paris Charles de Gaulle to Glasgow

• Eurowings: Dusseldorf to Edinburgh



Airline partners at VisitScotland Expo 2017:


• Qatar Airways

• Etihad Airways

• Turkish Airlines

• Finnair


• Delta Air Lines

• Air Canada 

• British Airways


* The Team Scotland approach sees sees Scottish Government partners work in collaboration to promote air route development in Scotland. This work includes VisitScotland, Transport Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and Highlands and Islands Enterprise

** Within one year of launch, the 12 routes supported in 2016 were associated with £89m of gross economic activity, resulting in £46.3m net direct economic impact across Scotland’s economy, with £28.6 million GVA and 748 FTE jobs supported.

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