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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 07/07/2022

Find out about the recent activity to support tourism across Moray Speyside, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, from our teams across VisitScotland - and also from our partners. 

In this edition:

You'll hear more about the ways we've delivering regionally activity, to further support industry recovery following the pandemic. We'll also introduce you to our new Regional Director, share about local activity, new marketing campaigns and PR activity, and much more.

Introducing David Jackson, Regional Director

Tourism businesses and operators across the north-east are experiencing their first full season without any legal restrictions in three long years. Whilst the prospect of a restriction-free 2022 season has brought some degree of optimism therefore, it is still a difficult operating environment for many with the local and global challenges we face.  We’re committed to working closely with partners and the tourism and events industry to help rebuild this vital part of Scotland’s and this region’s economy and provide the right support to lead recovery.

Major marketing campaigns led by our two Destination Management Organisations VisitAberdeenshire and Visit Moray Speyside along with other local activity in Lossiemouth, Mearns, Ballater and with NE250 have been funded by our Destination & Sector Marketing Fund, helping to ensure our region is front of mind when visitors are choosing a destination. Looking ahead, Aberdeen will continue be in the spotlight over the summer as the city’s Art Gallery plays host to the remarkable Book of Deer and also opens its new Galloway Hoard exhibition. Whilst Moray Speyside will feature in the new Spirit of the Highlands and Islands campaign delivered in partnership with High Life Highland.

Last month, I was delighted to attend the return of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy and see first-hand the impact of EventScotland support. It’s hard to overestimate the significance of seeing these live events return on strength and the vital contribution to local economies and their communities.

This summer will see the north-east play host to a whole range of events that have been supported by our Year of Stories and EventScotland funding streams, including Turriff Show, Aboyne Highland Games, Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, Ride the North, Findhorn Bay Festival and the Tour of Britain to name just a few.

As a relative newcomer to the north-east, there’s little doubt in my mind that this region has all the attributes of a world class tourism destination. I’m looking forward to working with partners and industry to help harness the enormous potential for responsible growth in the sector. So, here’s to a successful summer season!

Do remember to contact the local VisitScotland team in either Aberdeen or Inverness where we can provide a range of support and advice to tourism businesses.

Scotland's Year of Stories 2022

Are you sharing your tales of Scotland?

This year, Scotland is celebrating the Year of Stories. This themed year spotlights, celebrates and promotes the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. From icons of literature to local tales, the year aims to encourage locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.

There's lots of information available on to help to make the most of Scotland's Year of Stories 2022. Take a look at our promotional film, industry toolkit, insights papers, funding announcements and more.


With lots of activity taking place across Scotland, let’s take a look at what’s been happening in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray Speyside:


  • Year of Stories Funded Events Programme

    As part of our Open Funded events programme, Spectra – Aberdeen’s Festival of Light took place in February 2022, and attracted 116,000 visitors across a three-day programme. Six contemporary Scottish storytellers (writers, poets, performers and musicians) created new poetry and prose to capture the stories of Aberdeen, the North-East and Scotland. We also awarded funding to Findhorn Bay Arts Festival and Maps of Stories: Voicing Scotland's Landscapes, which will both take place this autumn.

    Through Rounds 1 and 2 of our Community Stories Fund, some of the events taking place in 2022 will include:

    • Culbin: The Dissapeared Village: The often-untold story of Culbin, a village on the Moray Firth which disappeared in the Great Sand Drift of 1694, will feature in a new live and digital exhibition. Over the years, myths and legends have shrouded Culbin in mystery. This exhibition will seek to uncover this mystery by exploring the environmental, maritime and coastal aspects of the village’s story, in addition to its history and heritage.
    • Dark Sky Storywalks: From 23 - 25 September 2022, as part of the 'Star Party' weekend, open dark sky storywalks will be taking place with a guided storyteller in Tomintoul.  These will be led by a storyteller, and will involve stargazing. While many stories associated with the stars and astronomy/astrology are based on Romano-Greek Legend, these stories will tell the 'Scottish and Celtic' stories associated with the stars and their patterns.
    • The Singing Land: Taking place as part of the Tarland Food and Music Festival during 23-25 September acclaimed musicians Hamish Napier, Arthur Coates, Paul Anderson,  Shona Donaldson and poet Sheena Blackhall, plus more, will celebrate and perform the music and songs of Deeside.
    • A Monstrous Regiment of Women: A new theatre piece inspired by the life of Scottish suffragette and journalist Caroline Phillips. Born in 1874 in Kintore, Aberdeenshire, Caroline honorary secretary of the Aberdeen branch of the Women's Social and Political Union, and a journalist at a time when there were only 66 female journalists in the UK. Written in Doric dialect and English by award-winning writer Alan Bissett, and performed by Garidge Theatre’s cast of young people, this will be a celebration of local history and language.


  • Join our Events Partner Programme

    The Year of Stories 2022 Partner Events Programme is open to events taking place between 1 January and 31 December 2022.

    If your event or festival aligns well with the theme, join the Partner Events Programme and benefit from the Themed Years promotional platform for free, whilst helping to promote Scotland in partnership.

  • Marketing and Campaign Activity

    • The Book of Deer exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery was promoted via the Year of Stories Bauer radio campaign on Northsound, 27 June – 3 July.
    • The Community Stories funded play A Monstrous Regiment of Women, at Inverurie’s Garioch Heritage Centre, was promoted via the Year of Stories Bauer radio campaign on Northsound, 6-12 June. It was also highlighted in a native article with The List in June.

    Throughout the year, we've interviewed a series of individuals from tourism businesses who capture the spirit of Scotland's Year of Stories 2022. 

Discover Scotland 2022

In April, Scottish tourism businesses joined us for Discover Scotland: Reconnect 2022 to engage with tour operators, travel advisors and Destination Management Companies representing key global markets, to drive bookings from international visitors once again. 

The event, which is part of our activity to rebuild international tourism demand and support the country's ambition to be a leading destination for responsible tourism, saw over 324 Scottish businesses engaged with 298 international tour operators and travel agents from 21 global markets. 4,455 meetings were facilitated on the virtual platform through 1-2-1 meetings, highlighting the best of Scotland's responsible tourism products. 

For Moray Speyside, we welcomed a number of local tourism businesses including: including Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens, Blervie House, Knockando Wool Mill, Moray Distillery Ltd, More in Moray Tours and Transport, North East 250 Ltd, Skedaddle North, Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, the Stotfield Hotel and Visit Moray Speyside. 

For Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, businesses included: these included the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Grampian Escapes and Tours Ltd, VisitAberdeenshire, Braemar Highland Games Visitor Centre, Aberdeen Douglas Hotel, Peterhead Prison Museum and Hilton Aberdeen TECA Hotel.  

Discover Scotland Live Showcase

Discover Scotland 2022 has, for the first time this year, combined an online business-to-business event, known as Discover Scotland: Reconnect 2022, with regional showcases, known as Discover Scotland: Live Showcase being held in May and September 2022. These showcases focus on the promotion of trade-ready responsible and sustainable Scottish tourism businesses and their products, to key buyers from around 10 international markets.  

For the first regional showcase in May, 28 international buyers were split into three groups to visit locations, hotels and attractions in Aberdeenshire and Tay Country over a four-day period. These were themed Scotland’s Iconic Cities – Splendours of the East to experience the region’s finest food and drink; Wonders of the East to enjoy the region’s castles, glens and royal connections and Authentic Adventures in the East, where buyers experienced some of the greatest outdoors that Scotland has to offer.

If you're interested in joining us at next year’s event, make sure you are signed up to our Tourism Insider newsletter and join our closed Facebook group for updates.

Regional Events

The recovery of Scotland’s events industry and the country’s position as the perfect stage for events continues to be strengthened as EventScotland awards more than £740,000 of funding from its National Events Programme to 65 live events.  

Among the live sporting and cultural events to receive support in the north-east are much-loved regulars including Aberdeen Mela in August, Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair in May, Stonehaven Folk Festival in July and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in June. 

Consumer PR

Our Consumer PR team work closely with publications across the globe to share all that Scotland has to offer.

Here's a few examples coverage we've secured in the last three months: 

Related links