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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 01/12/2020

Despite the challenges of 2020, Scotland’s tourism industry has opened it doors and hearts to the people across the country and we believe now is the time to return the love and show our support.

Today (1 December) we're calling on Scots tolove local’ this Christmas and support tourism during its time of need. As part of our festive campaign, we're working with partners across the country, to showcase the vast range of gifts, products and experiences people across the country can enjoy right on their doorstep.

Worth more than £11.5 billion to the Scottish economy, and supporting 1 in 12 jobs, the Scottish tourism industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdown and travel restrictions.

However, regardless of this, throughout the pandemic, stories of innovation and kindness emerged as businesses offered free stays to frontline workers, made hand santisers for communities and reinvented their products and services to make life for those unable to travel. When tourism reopened on 15 July, those within the industry worked tirelessly to make experiences safe and enjoyable once again.

The arrival of new restrictions in what is traditionally a quieter time of year has once again hit the industry hard, prompting the call on people across the country to return the favour, supporting the sector that supported them through it all.

Examples of kindness and innovation include:

  • Spirited Soaps, a soap producer on Islay who at the height of the pandemic worked with Bruichladdich distillery to produce hand sanitiser for Islay & Jura. A staggering 3500 bottles were produced with every household receiving a bottle.

  • Schloss Roxburghe Hotel in the Scottish Borders provided care packages to frontline workers during the summer. 

  • Hideaway Experience, luxury glamping near Dundee, gave back to the community by offering free stays to nominated care workers and NHS staff.

  • Cullen Bay Hotel in Moray served free meals to the communities of Cullen, Portknockie and Findochty.

  • Crerar Hotels (across Scotland) welcomed over 380 NHS key workers and their families to its venues in August to say thank you for all of their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Meldrum House in Aberdeenshire introduced new private dining domes so guests can safely enjoy a meal out under the stars.

  • Edinburgh’s Christmas has created Santa at Home, where up to six children can safely enjoy a live private and personalised zoom call with Father Christmas. 

  • Travel guides and historians Solway Tours, based in Dumfries & Galloway have launched a new ancestral gift box as part of a Scottish-inspired gift range.

  • Taymouth Marina in Perthshire has made its HotBox, outdoor spa experience, available on an exclusive basis for ‘household bubbles’

To find out more about #ScotlandLovesLocal and learn more about some great ways you can support local this December visit:

How can you get involved?

As well as encouraging visitors to put Scottish tourism at the top of their Christmas 2020 wish-lists, we've created a dedicated advice page where businesses can learn more about the campaign and how to get involved, as well as accessing advice on promoting themselves to a local audience during the pandemic. 

We’ve pulled together some valuable tips and advice to help support the love local message and navigate through the current COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Take a look.

We know that 2020 has been tough for everyone, particularly for those in our valuable, vibrant tourism industry. Yet despite this, many of our tourism businesses selfishlessly put the public’s needs first – creating services that put a smile on our life, made us feel just a little bit better during the hardest of times. Now many of these tourism businesses are worried for their future and it is our time to support them.

With the current five-level protection framework in place in Scotland and many people not able to travel, VisitScotland is working with others to look at how we can support local tourism to help with the devastating impact of the pandemic.

We’ve made it easy for visitors, packing our website with inspiration and information about all the brilliant businesses they can support within their local area.

Whether it’s buying gift vouchers, shopping online or on our high streets, dining out or booking a break on your doorstep; by loving local you are supporting communities during difficult times and helping protect the places and businesses you love to visit and rebuilding our valuable visitor economy.

Vicki Miller, VisitScotland Director of Marketing