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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 21/06/2022

Find out about our recent activity to support recovery for Ayrshire & Arran alongside partners. From industry support to new campaigns and PR activity, read on for the latest in Ayrshire & Arran tourism updates.


Picture of Regional Director Gordon Smith Introduction from Gordon Smith, Regional Director, VisitScotland

Tourism businesses and operators across Ayrshire & Arran and beyond are experiencing their first full season without any legal restrictions in three long years. It’s been a torrid time for our industry and while 2022 has brought some degree of optimism, it's still a difficult operating environment for many with the local and global challenges we face.  

International visitors are returning but travel issues remain, the cost of living is putting a squeeze on budgets and making the everyday experience for our businesses difficult. 

We’re working hand in hand with partners and our tourism and events industry to rebuild this vital part of Ayrshire & Arran’s economy and providing the right support to lead the recovery along with key partners in the region. 

Marketing campaigns by VisitArran, Ayrshire Food Journey and Ayrshire and Arran Destination Alliance, funded by our Destination & Sector Marketing Fund, have been running through the earlier part of the year, to ensure our region is front of mind when visitors are choosing a destination. 

Another welcome note is the return of in-person events of all sizes, which as well as encouraging visitor numbers also provide that important buzz and social interaction we’ve missed so much. We're supporting a number of these events through our EventScotland programme and Year of Stories this summer, including Mauchline Holy Fair, Holy Fair with Armed Forces and Pipes in the Park, Ayr, Doonfest, Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, Dundonald Links and The Making Waves Festival to name a few.  

The impact of tourism spreads far beyond the industry itself - it benefits our economy, our community and our wellbeing. I hope we can all look forward to a more predictable and enjoyable summer period and do remember to contact the local VisitScotland team in Ayrshire & Arran where we can provide a range of support and advice to tourism businesses. 

Discover Scotland: Reconnect 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. 

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

Year of Stories 2022

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.

  • Marketing Toolkit

    Take a look at our Year of Stories 2022 marketing toolkit for information about this Themed Year for 2022 and how you can get involved, including key themes and access to our Year of Stories 2022 industry webinar.

  • Campaign activity

    In April and May, Bauer radio showcased Year of Stories events in the west of Scotland on Clyde One including the Community Campfires event in North Ayrshire.

    We also have an ongoing digital campaign with The List which has promoted Year of Stories events including Community Campfires and the Shadows of the Past - Ayr Myths, Legends and History trail through e-newsletters, social media and articles. 

  • Events Programme

    Supported by our Open Fund Programme, Once Upon a Time in South Ayrshire kicked off a year’s programme of events, exhibitions and experiences across South Ayrshire, including the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award, a walking trail celebrating Ayr’s myths, legends and history, and Story Sunday at the Holy Fair.  

    The Scottish Book Trust have also completed a community storytelling residency in North Ayrshire as part of their event, Scotland’s Stories: Community Campfires and, in East Ayrshire, the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s residency with author Andrew O’Hagan is now underway with residents at HMP Kilmarnock, where participants will be exploring the theme of ‘Scotland’s Stories Now’ and sharing their own stories. 

Not familiar with our Year of Stories campaign? Watch our video to learn more.

Our Ayrshire & Arran marketing activity

Scotland is Calling

As part of phase two of our Scotland is Calling campaign, a NewsUK Time article featured the Waverly Paddle Steamer, Isle of Arran, Largs and Isle of Cumbrae. 

Scotland's UNESCO trail

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail campaign continues to highlight Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere with paid and in-kind promotional activity. Learn more about Scotland's UNESCO trail and how your business can get involved with our handy marketing toolkit. 

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail: The Wonders Within

Our Ayrshire and Arran consumer marketing and PR content updates

Across our consumer facing website and consumer PR, we're always publishing content that features businesses across regions in Scotland to help inspire future visitors. Have a look at where Ayrshire and Arran has been featured in the last five months.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire
Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire
Image credit VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Corporate Communications activity

Our Corporate Communications team works to ensure that tourism is seen as Scotland's most important industry through regular communication and PR activity with media and the tourism industry. Have a look at some of our recent press coverage and corporate website updates.


Press coverage 

From January 2022 to May 2022, our Corporate Communications team’s regional press activity had a total combined reach of 444, 098 from 73 articles. 

Among the coverage, featured stories included:

  • Year of Scotland’s Stories  

  • Electric charge points fund 

  • Scottish Thistle Awards 

  • Discover Scotland  

  • VisitScotland reveals top images for Ayrshire 

  • Destination & Sector Marketing funded activity 

  • Days Out Fund 

Hear from VisitArran

The last few months have been very active for VisitArran. We have launched our new website which offers a fresher approach for visitors wanting to find out more about Arran.

As a not-for profit organisation, VisitArran was delighted to receive funding through VisitScotland's Destination, Sector & Marketing Fund. We based the SeeArran FeelArran BeArran campaign on localism and authenticity, using local volunteers within our community to highlight Arran in all its many aspects.

This has taken the form of advertising through Sky, use of radio, social media, bloggers and podcasts. Feedback has been extremely positive, and colleagues within the industry have commended us for the different and innovative approach taken.

It was a fraught time in April, but with the ferry situation now resolved, Arran is ready to welcome all our visitors back for a super summer season!

Sheila Gilmore, Chief Executive, VisitArran

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