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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 06/02/2019

ScotSpirit Breaks has given 1,100 vulnerable families a “life-changing” short break in Scotland, transforming Scottish tourism.

The initiative, which enters its fourth year in 2019, is a nationwide social tourism project coordinated by VisitScotland and the Family Holiday Association charity. It aims to raise the importance of social tourism in Scotland and illustrate the true spirit of Scotland through the warmth and generosity of the tourism industry.

Over 100 industry partners have been involved in the initiative since it began. Partners across the tourism sector donate accommodation, transport and tickets for family-friendly visitor attractions and experiences.

During the last three years more than 4,300 people have experienced 319 short breaks and 780 day trips in Scotland as part of the project.

The majority of families the Family Holiday Association supports have never before been on a family holiday. The evidence shows that spending time together away from their daily struggles can be life-changing for the families they work with.

A survey of families who have received a ScotSpirit Break found:

  • Almost 70% of families went away together for the first time
  • 87% visited somewhere new in Scotland
  • 97% of children had a new experience
  • Families from 27 local authority areas have benefitted from a break

ScotSpirit Breaks is a hugely beneficial initiative that is giving disadvantaged families the opportunity to enjoy time away together for a much-needed break. It’s fantastic to see the reach of the project with thousands of people across the country benefitting from these experiences and having the chance to appreciate Scotland’s wonderful sights and attractions.

The partnership working across the tourism sector to make ScotSpirit Breaks possible, demonstrates a generosity and inclusivity that the Scottish tourism sector can be proud of, and I hope the project will continue to build on its success, so more families can enjoy what Scotland has to offer.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

Scotland is about building bridges, connecting places and bringing people together. Tourism is at the heart of this and VisitScotland works with the tourism industry and strategic partners to ensure Scotland is an inclusive, welcoming destination for all.

The ScotSpirit Breaks would not exist without the generosity of tourism industry businesses and partners who have kindly donated accommodation, transport and access to visitor attractions to create experiences that will have a long-lasting positive effect on those participating families.

Ever since 2016, when we teamed up with the Family Holiday Association, the response has been amazing, and we remain committed to continuing the initiative and engage with more families and industry partners across Scotland.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland

Giving struggling Scottish families the chance to be tourists in their own country makes a massive difference, broadening horizons and highlighting the fantastic opportunities on offer.

Sadly, too many families miss out on these opportunities and it’s been fantastic to work with VisitScotland and dozens of generous industry partners to help create memories that will last a lifetime.

John Kinnear, Head of Programmes at the Family Holiday Association