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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 20/10/2022

Introduction from David Adams McGilp, Regional Director

Head and shoulder image of David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland Regional Director It has been fantastic to see the return of domestic and international visitors to our region over the summer months. As we approach the autumn and winter season, we will continue to work with partners in our tourism and events industry on promoting activity that extends the season and ensuring Scotland and Argyll & Isles remains front of mind for potential visitors.   

We’re prioritising activities that will stimulate demand and new bookings for the industry to support its long-term recovery with more details in the update below.  

We know that many businesses are facing difficult decisions and are having to consider how they adapt their operations to manage the cost challenges. We would encourage you to visit our industry website for all the latest industry advice, support and guidance and we will bring you news on industry events taking place in the region.    

We also want to take the opportunity to celebrate our tourism and events industry who have worked tirelessly in the past two years. The return of the Scottish Thistle Awards regional finals later this month offers us the chance to do this and I would like to wish all those shortlisted the very best of luck.

Travel trade discover Argyll & the Isles in person once again 

Tourism businesses have been able to host in-person travel trade familiarisation trips for the first time since before the height of the pandemic in Argyll & the Isles. 

A group of around 30 tour operators, travel agents and destination management companies from the UK and key North American, European and Asian markets visited Argyll & the Isles, as part of VisitScotland’s travel trade event Discover Scotland 2022, in addition to the online business-to-business event earlier in the year.   

The group were taken to the Isle of Bute and spent time at Mount Stuart, taken on a tour of the island and stopped at Isle of Bute Gin Distillery.

View of Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute

Aerial shot of Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute

Catch up with our iCentre staff across Argyll & the Isles

Celebrating the best in the business with the Scottish Thistle Awards 

The regional shortlist for this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards has been announced and it’s a fantastic line up highlighting the strength and depth of Scotland's tourism & events industry.

Accommodation providers, visitor attractions, hotels, restaurants, events and individuals the length and breadth of the country are in the running for a 2022/23 Scottish Thistle Award. Congratulations to:

  • Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond (Best hotel experience over 20 rooms)
  • Fiona Campbell, Association of Scotland's Self Caterers (Regional Ambassador)

See the full shortlist at the Thistles website

Marketing Argyll & the Isles to visitors 

  • Something witchy this way comes

    In September, we launched a brand new trail and map exploring Scotland's tales of witchcraft to mark our Year of Stories 2022.

    The downloadable guide features 15 locations and can be found on alongside a blog taking a deeper dive on the subject and offering even more witch-craft themed visitor experiences.

    Experiences on the map include Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle which is said to be haunted by the witch of Ben Cruachan. 

    Download the Witch Trail Map

  • Influencer Foraged by Fern shares adventure through Argyll & the Isles

    As part of our Spirit of the Higlands & Islands campaign, influencer and blogger Foraged by Fern explored Argyll & the Isles with a packed 4-day itinerary. The visit included stops to Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Fyne Ales Brewery, Crawford Castle, Kilmartin Glen, Stonefield Castle, Keills Chapel and more.

    Read Fern's blog for full trip details. 

  • Argyll & the Isles in the press

    Between July and September, our consumer PR team promoted Argyll & the Isles to audiences in the UK, Europe and North America: 

    • In the UK, The Sunday Post shared an article on Scottish Isles featuring Mull & Iona, Islay and Jura; the I included Mull in a feature on the '21 best UK islands for a day trip'; Ardkinglas House was highlighted in a 'Cosy upto Autumn' press release; and The Daily Telegraph had a feature on '10 UK island alternatives to the Med' with a big focus on Argyll & the Isles.
    • In European coverage, there was a great piece about Argyll in Le Figaro with Mull suggested as an alternative to Skye; Tf1 filmed an episode of the show Taste Hunters on Mull to showcase cheese making; and Germany's public broadcaster Hessicher Rundfunk aired a new documentary focussing on Scotland's west coast with Mull and Lismore featuring prominently.
    • For the North American audience, our team hosted several press visits, one with a luxury properties focus taking journalists to Cameron House and the Isle of Eriska, and the other for a whisky and luxury themed trip with visits to Islay and Port Appin. 
  • Inspiring visitors with new content on is our website for visitors to find inspiration for their next trip to Scotland. Check out some of the newest content featuring Argyll & the Isles:

New Islay images on our media library 

In July, our Multimedia team shot some brilliant new footage on Islay, capturing an array of images and aerial footage across the whole island. Take a look at a selection of the images and head to our media library to find more.


In case you missed it... 

Some other new activity and updates from across the region include:

  • Congratulations to Rowan House B&B and self-catering apartment which was awarded a 5 star rating from our Quality Assurance scheme in July as well as a Taste our Best award in recognition of its commitment to using high quality Scottish produce. 
  • Argyll & Bute council received funding towards two projects: Island Community Halls Digital Hubs and Tobermory Seawall and Railings Improvements.
  • A new illustrative map and guide was launched to help visitors explore everything Loch Awe has to offer. 

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