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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 19/07/2022

Caroline Warburton, Regional Leadership Director, VisitScotland 

Tourism businesses and operators across Fife are experiencing their first full season without restrictions since 2019.  

It has been fantastic to see businesses fully open once more, visitors returning across the region and Fife residents continuing to support the recovery of their local tourism industry.   

Despite new challenges, the outlook is looking more positive than it has been and we remain committed to working closely with partners and the tourism industry to rebuild this vital part of Fife’s economy.  

Our marketing partnership with Welcome to Fife, two new campaigns by Fife Golf Partnership and Food from Fife funded through our Destination and Sector Marketing Fund, plus our own UK and international activity are helping to ensure our region is front of mind when visitors are choosing a destination.  

Fife will continue to be in the spotlight this summer boosted by the exposure which The 150th Open in St Andrews will bring and buoyed up with news of Scotland’s newest city Dunfermline and host of the iconic Scottish artist Jack Vettriano exhibition at Kirkcaldy Galleries.  

It has been encouraging to see the return of international visitors to the region from North America and Europe. One of our key priorities at VisitScotland has been to rebuild international demand through our marketing, PR and travel trade activity, and it was pleasing to see a number of Fife businesses attending our Discover Scotland event in April which featured over 300 international trade buyers.  

Another welcome sight has been the return of events, providing that buzz and social interaction we have all missed so much. From events celebrating Scotland’s Year of Stories including StAnza Scotland’s International Poetry Festival and Tales o’ the Toon to the return of local favourites including Crail Food Festival, Inverkeithing Highland Games and The Fife Show, which we have been able to support through our EventScotland funding streams. 

Meanwhile The 150th Open in St Andrews last week attended by 290,000 spectators provided a welcome boost for tourism businesses and the wider economy. Broadcast worldwide to an audience of millions, it is hoped this global exposure will inspire future trips to the region.   

Caroline Warburton, Regional Leadership Director, VisitScotland

Caroline talking to media at the 150th Open at St Andrews.

All of our activity is hand-in-hand with that of our partners. We work closely with the Fife Council team who manage Welcome to Fife to ensure maximum reach for both organisations’ content. We have supported OnFife with promotion of their Jack Vettriano exhibition at Kirkcaldy Galleries as well as St Andrews Links Trust with their Big Bag Trail in the lead up to The 150th Open. We also continue to support the Fife Tourism Partnership, local tourism associations and Dunfermline Heritage Partnership. It’s all part of ensuring Fife offers the best tourism experience it can to visitors. 

The impact of tourism and events spreads far beyond the industry itself – it benefits our economy, our community and our wellbeing.  

Here’s to a successful summer season across the Kingdom of Fife. Do remember that there is a wealth of information available to support your business on this website and do get in touch with our local VisitScotland team if you need advice. We would love to hear from you.  

VisitScotland at The Open

Last week we had a team of enthusiastic volunteers from across VisitScotland working at our "Scotland, Home of Golf stand" at the 150th Open. We provided visitors with local knowledge of what to see and do in St Andrews, Fife as well as  information on what the rest of Scotland has to offer.  

This year we had a dynamic stand presence with a five-hole crazy golf, starting with a Highland Cow and four holes representing Scottish icons: Nessie, Finneston Crane, Forth Bridge and finishing (appropriately) with the iconic Swilcan Bridge.  At the final hole, the wall behind had a large graphic of the Old Course, creating a perfect photo opportunity for visitors. 

The stand was designed to be fun and welcoming as well as informative, with an interactive screen providing information about Scotland and previous Open tournament courses.

Our stand partners this year were Fife Council and Fife Golf Partnership. Fife Council held a tasting session with local food and drink providers - Growers Garden, Feragaia and Chocolate and Love - across three of the Championship days. 

The Open provided an amazing opportunity to promote St Andrews and Scotland to the world, as the Home of Golf and thankfully the sun shone for most of the week!

Marketing Fife

Regional paid campaigns

As part of our marketing agreement with Fife Council:

  • we ran a series of digital articles and online adverts with UK media titles – History Extra, CountryFile and BBC Good Food to encourage visitors to plan break in Fife this spring / summer. The activity ran for six weeks starting in April and directed people to as well as linking to individual businesses.
  • To capitalise on the 150th Open at St Andrews we ran paid display advertising, from 14 July, aligning to the Scotland is Calling branding.
  • Plans are currently underway with the support of our multimedia team to capture new imagery of the lesser-known areas of Fife and Scotland’s newest city, Dunfermline.

VisitScotland email marketing 

In June, our email marketing team issued a dedicated email titled “Introducing Dunfermline...” following the announcement of Dunfermline as a Scotland’s new city. This was sent to our global database of 1.3 million people. 

New destination webpage for Dunfermline

Our content team set up a dedicated city destination page, as with all Scottish cities, and the team have been working through existing "city related" content on to make sure Dunfermline is represented. Take a look at our main city page.

From this page there are external links out the the Dunfermline and West Fife ebook, which was created as part of the VisitScotland Growth Fund activity.

Dunfermline city status is also reflected across the content on our blogs, and our "See and Do" webpage.

Dunfermline website screengrab

Scotland is Calling 

In March 2022, we launched the second phase of our global marketing campaign, Scotland Is Calling. This £8.5 million campaign has been designed to support Scotland's tourism sector recovery, by increasing the momentum to ensure that Scotland is front of mind for visitors as a destination of choice. We re-designed this new activity in response to consumer research, and made emotional drivers a key focus of our content. 
Find out more about the campaign in our industry guide. 

Scotland is Calling articles featuring Fife

Fife PR coverage

Corporate press activity

Our corporate PR team work closely with Scottish and UK media to raise awareness of VisitScotland’s work to promote Scotland and Fife to visitors and support for industry. Highlights include:

  • Interviews from Caroline Warburton with The Courier, Tay FM and Kingdom FM on the importance of the region’s tourism industry and residents continuing to support businesses as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Raising awareness of VisitScotland’s work to rebuild international visitor demand in Fife at Discover Scotland travel trade event in April attended by local businesses including Teasses Estate, Rusacks St Andrews, Phoenix Travel and Serenity Scotland.
  • Statement from VisitScotland, Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead in May celebrating Dunfermline city status as part of the Queen Platinum Jubilee celebrations providing a tourism boost for the west of the region.
  • EventScotland funding announcements for Fife events including The Fife Show, Inverkeithing Highland Games and Crail Food Festival as part of Round 45 of the National Programme Fund and for Anstruther Scottish Fisheries Museum as part of Round 2 of Year of Stories Communities Stories Fund in May and June.
  • Promoting Scotland and Fife as the Home of Golf in the lead up to The Open. Highlighting St Andrews iCentre as a hub for visitors and benefits of the tournament for tourism businesses, wider economy and as a showcase for future visitors to the region with Regional Leadership Director, Caroline Warburton op-ed in The Courier and broadcast interviews on location in St Andrews for BBC Reporting Scotland, STV and Kingdom FM.

Consumer PR team 

Our consumer PR team work closely with publications across the globe to share all that Scotland and Fife has to offer. Here's a few examples of Fife coverage over the past few months.

  • UK

    • Press trip to Fife for the Metro newspaper in late May, covering the Rusacks St Andrews hotel and playing golf as a beginner, with a focus on The 150th Open. Take a look at the coverage on the Metro website.
    • Dunfermline named as a city in the Queen’s Jubilee, in The Sun (reach 1.2 million) and (reach 75,000).
  • Europe

    • Regional newspaper Neuburger Extra published a feature about St Andrews, highlighting royal connections, coastal scenery, its status as the Home of Golf  and a number of food and drink businesses.
  • North America

    • "10 Airbnbs  That Make You Feel Like You’re Living in Game of Thrones" featured accommodation choices in Scotland, including Dairsie Castle in Fife (reach: 3,825,684)
    • Coverage in AFAR - "Why you should visit Dunfermline" and "The best distilleries for gin tasting" (reach: over 1.1 million) and MSN -  Love Gin? (reach: over 200 million) on a "Week Long Tour of Scotland’s Best Distilleries" featured Eden Mill distillery, the Rusacks Hotel, the Old Course and more
    • Travel + Leisure featured "This Country is the Top Honeymoon Destination of 2022" , according to Expedia and mentions St Andrews as a keen honeymoon destination (reach: 5,462,351)

An update from St Andrews iCentre

It's been a busy time for our team at our information centre in St Andrews, who have been offering their expert advice and guidance to the many visitors to St Andrews during The 150th Open.

The Open is the oldest golf tournament in the world. A record-breaking 290,000 golf fans attended the event this month, as it returned to the Old Course in St Andrews.

On the run up to The Open the team were already seeing excitement build as a result of The Big Bag Trail, a new walking trail developed by Callaway Golf and St Andrews Links Trust.

The trail consists of ten larger-than-life golf bags located across St Andrews, accessible via a free-to-download app, encouraging golf enthusiasts and visitors to explore the town. 

The team in St Andrews were delighted to be part of this exciting trail around the town and hosted their very own 'bag' in the iCentre. 

The St Andrews iCentre team with their golf bag
The St Andrews iCentre team with their golf bag
Image credit VisitScotland

Discover Scotland: Reconnect 2022

In April, seven Fife 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, 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. 

If you're interested in joining us at next year’s event, make sure you are signed up to our Tourism Insider newsletter.

Scotland's Year of Stories 2022

VisitScotland Destination & Sector Marketing fund

  • Food From Fife

    Managed by Food from Fife, £18,000 of funding was secured to promote food and drink along the Fife Coastal Path as part of VisitScotland’s Destination & Sector Marketing Fund. Find out more.

  • Fife Golf Partnership

    £18,000 of funding was secured to created a campaign using golf as the hook to build experiences with food and drink, culture, nature and history across the region. Check out the Fife Golf Partnership website.