“I can’t tell you how overwhelming and spine-chilling that moment was. I finally knew I was home”, wrote a recent US visitor, on finding her ancestors’ graves in a quiet kirkyard.
Visitors in search of their family connections in Scotland are highly motivated, and research shows they stay longer, they spend more and they often travel at off peak times. With over 213,000 annual trips currently, and an increase expected in 2017 - the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, this is a market you can’t afford to ignore. Ancestral visitors want to find out about the landscape and the places their forebears knew, the buildings and monuments they left, but they are also interested in today’s Scotland, its people and its produce.
There are a few simple steps you can take to help attract these visitors.
· Find out about the heritage attractions in your area, why not get in touch with your local family or history society?
· Can visitors get online? Make visitors aware of free wifi to allow them to check their notes and references.
· Start to collect leaflets, local maps and reference books. Your local knowledge will be invaluable to their visit in directing them to the places, experiences and the people they are looking for.
· Join the newly launched Ancestral Welcomes Scheme and let ancestral visitors know they will receive a warm welcome home with you.
Need more information? The Scottish Ancestral Tourism Group can also help you take advantage of this new opportunity. Check out their website at: www.scottishancestraltourism.scot