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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 22/06/2022

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

 

Introduction from Ken Massie, Head of Regional Leadership & Development

Tourism businesses and operators across the Glasgow City Region are experiencing their first full season without any legal restrictions in 3 long years. It’s been a torrid time for our industry and while 2022 has brought some degree of optimism, it is still a difficult operating environment for many with the local and global challenges we face.  

Domestic and international visitors are returning, but both are impacted by fresh travel issues. Meanwhile, the cost of living is squeezing all our budgets, and making the everyday experience difficult for visitors and businesses alike.  

We’re working closely with partners and the tourism and events industry to rebuild this vital part of the Glasgow City Region’s economy, and provide the right support to lead the recovery. And there is much to celebrate in the quality of our product for the summer of 2022. 

The opening of the rejuvenated Burrell Collection has given a major boost to the city’s recovery. Our EventScotland team supported the Burrell’s launch weekend with funding for free public events in Pollok Country Park. Over 125,000 visitors had made it through the doors in the first 50 days alone. The Burrell has provided a focal point for VisitScotland marketing and PR activity in key international markets including the USA, France, Germany and China, and it was front and centre in Glasgow marketing campaigns with Avanti run by VisitScotland, greatly enhanced by investment from Glasgow Life. The reopening has restored the jewel in Glasgow’s cultural crown, and given a fresh tailwind to our promotion of the city in the months ahead.  

The return of live events without Covid restrictions in 2022 is also a chance to attract visitors on the strength of our music offering, and this summer’s line-up of outdoor live music gigs and festivals is more formidable than ever before. 

Between June and August, there is scarcely a break in the UNESCO City of Music’s calendar of major name talent performing to huge outdoor crowds, from Harry Styles at Ibrox to Primal Scream at Queen’s Park Recreation Ground to Guns n’ Roses and TRNSMT at Glasgow Green. Hampden has its busiest every roster, with a record eight gigs over the summer.     

Accordingly, VisitScotland has been supporting Glasgow Life’s Glasgow Music Non-Stop campaign, through £180,000 from the Destination and Sector Marketing Fund, the recovery marketing fund we’ve administered on behalf of the Scottish Government.  

Glasgow’s UNESCO City of Music designation will also get that message to new audiences through our UNESCO Trail marketing burst in the UK and Germany this summer, which of course will also promote the UNESCO sites of New Lanark and the Antonine Wall in Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire.  

Paisley had the honour of kicking off UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, the celebration of creativity taking place across the UK in 2022. About Us was a spectacular, free open-air event exploring 13.8 billion years of history. In Glasgow, we’ve just hosted a unique festival, part of Dandelion, Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED, which has been delivered and supported by EventScotland. The festival brought a weekend of live music, interactive walkabout theatre, science and creative activities and the spectacular ‘Pavilion of Perpetual Light’ art installation to Kelvingrove Park. The live music from Scottish and international artists was developed in partnership with Celtic Connections and Glasgow Life.  

The Year of Stories continues to provide a platform for every corner of Scotland to reach new audiences in its own singular voice. Every one of the eight local authority areas in the Glasgow City Region is hosting events this year supported by Stories funding streams, including the new Round 2 awards from the Community Stories Fund.  

The impact of tourism and events spreads far beyond the industry itself, benefiting our economy, our communities and our wellbeing. I hope we can all look forward to an enjoyable and successful summer period. Please do remember to contact the local VisitScotland team in Glasgow where we can provide a range of support and advice. 

The Burrell Collection reopening

The Burrell Collection Credit VisitScotland Kate Abbey

The £68.25 million reimagining of the Burrell Collection in 2022 has been a major focal point as VisitScotland rebuilds international demand for Scotland as a destination in light of the pandemic. The Burrell has been featuring prominently in our marketing activity both in the UK and internationally for many months.  It has featured across our activity promoting Glasgow and Scotland in our key markets the UK, USA, France and Germany. This included coverage in Forbes business magazine, one of France’s biggest travel websites and at one of the world's largest tourism trade shows, ITB Berlin.    

The Consumer PR team secure coverage including The Burrell Collection in leading titles in UAE, China, Europe and North America. While the Regions and Partnership Marketing included content of The Burrell in NewsUK activity, in conjunction with Glasgow Life, across Times Travel, thetimes.co.uk, thesun.co.uk and Facebook. In addition, a VisitScotland/Avanti campaign paid social campaign targeted the London audience, featured the Burrell.  

The Burrell Collection reopening has been featuring in prominent spots on VisitScotland’s own channels including visitscotland.com, the consumer e-news, industry-facing website visitscotland.org, corporate Twitter channel and included a LinkedIn blog from Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead. 

EventScotland supported the Burrell Collection’s reopening through its International Programme, to provide free public opening weekend events in Pollok Country Park. 

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.

There were 42 representatives from Glasgow City Region that attended the event, with over 20 delegates representing businesses and operators from within the city, including Glasgow Life, The Clydeside Distillery, Mackintosh at the Willow, The National Piping Centre, Once Upon A Whisky and The Glasgow Food and Drink Tour.  

Among the businesses and operators attending from the wider Glasgow City Region area were Sweeney's Cruise Co. Loch Lomond, David Livingstone Birthplace and Gleddoch Hotel, Spa & Golf.

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 and campaign activity

    As part of our Year of Stories campaign, we interviewed John Norman MacDonald, the Book Manager of The Gaelic Books Council's bookshop in Partick. Read the full interview with John.

    In April and May, Bauer Radio showcased Year of Stories events in the west of Scotland on Clyde One including Songs from the Last Page at Glasgow's Aye Write Festival. 

    We also have an ongoing digitial campaign with The List which has included promoting Year of Stories events in the west including Glasgow Show Film Festival.

  • Year of Stories Funded Events Programme

    As part of our Open Funded events programme, Whisper the Song: Stories for Celtic Connections 2022 took place in January at the Mitchell Library, featuring a series of five unique and newly commissioned events celebrating Scotland's rich tradition of stories, all interwoven with music, song and film. Songs from the Last Page also provided a live music finale at Paisley Book Festival in February and performed as part of Glasgow’s Aye Write Festival in May. 

    Through our Community Stories Fund, some of the events taking place include:

    • Story Ceilidh: Taking place in Inverclyde from March to June, this event is a cross-cultural collaboration bringing together stories related to Inverclyde with stories of News Scots families who have settled in the area, sharing traditional tales, ballads and poems in Arabic. 
    • Beyond 2020: Community reflections: Taking place in East Renfrewshire from March to December, this project will engage with people from across the community to capture and share their own lived experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic through activities including a professional photographic exhibition and creative writing workshops.
    • Jambo! Radio: This Renfrewshire project, taking place between May and July, will capture stories of Elders of African and Caribbean heritage about their journeys to Scotland including how they chose where to stay and how they coped with a new environment. A permanent archive of their stories will be colllected and the stories will also be shared across 4 storytelling sessions and Black History Month in October.
  • Get involved with help from our 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.

Scotland's Year of Stories 2022

Our Glasgow City Region marketing activity

 

Scotland is Calling

As part of phase two of our Scotland is Calling campaign: 

  • A NewsUK Times article featured the Waverly Paddle Steamer, the UNESCO City of Music and music events at Glasgow Green

  • NewsUK influencer activity included a food tour of Glasgow courtesy of @foodthirst

  • The Stylist sent a partnership email featuring The Burrell Collection was well as focusing on parks, architecture and music events. 

  • Expedia continued to focus on cities with Glasgow imagery featured in digital display.

 

VisitScotland partnership with Avanti

The VisitScotland partnership with Avanti ran from March - May promoting mid-week breaks to Glasgow targeted at a London audience. Dedicated video content was created featuring Glasgow’s City Centre Mural Trail as well as paid social ads featuring Ashton Lane, Kelvingrove, Barrowland Ballroom and Hidden Lane. These ads linked to a Glasgow focussed destination page hosted on visitscotland.com.

 

Scotland's UNESCO trail

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail campaign continues to highlight Glasgow UNESCO city of music, the Antonine Wall and New Lanark with paid and in-kind promotional activity. 

 

Promoting Glasgow in partnership with Glasgow Life

Paid social media activity: To mirror and support the VisitScotland and Avanti partnership activity mentioned earlier in this section, we developed a series of paid Facebook adverts to raise awareness of Glasgow's cultural offering and direct visitors to the People Make Glasgow website. 

Avanti feedback from their paid activity reported 37,000 journeys to Glasgow during the campaign and an increase of 15.1% bookings compared to their two previous rail periods. This brilliant result demonstrated that the Glasgow Life paid social media activity alongside the Avanti activity had a positive impact on bookings and visits to Glasgow.

Activity with NewsUK: Advertising activity was also delivered on NewsUK platforms including a premium native article on times.co.uk, Facebook Instant experiences across Times channels and digital display advertising on times.co.uk and thesun.co.uk. This activity was aimed at a UK audience and aimed to showcase Glasgow's cultural offering with specific emphasis on the newly opened Burrell Collection. 

Our Glasgow City region consumer marketing and PR activity

Across our consumer facing website VisitScotland.com 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 Glasgow City Region has been featured in the last five months.

We have also recently added new images to our Digital Media Library of Ashton Lane, The Burrell Collection, Pollok Country Park, Queen’s Park and The Lighthouse. 

Visit our Digital Media Library 

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 1,453,899 from 198 articles. This included: 39 articles for Glasgow City; 65 articles for North & South Lanarkshire; 51 articles for Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire & Inverclyde; and 43 articles for East & West Dunbartonshire.

Activity included: 

  • 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

  • Dandelion/ UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK 

  • Westjet routes between Glasgow and Canada 

  • World Pipe Band Championships 

  • The Buzz is Back marketing campaign 

  • Scottish Thistle Awards 

  • Supporting responsible tourism activity for Easter 

  • About Us: UK launch of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK 

Update from the Glasgow Tourism & Visitor Plan

Last month, city tourism partners Glasgow Life, Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland shared the first update for businesses and stakeholders on our collective activity to deliver on the ambition of the Glasgow Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023.

Covering the first full year of activity, the update highlights how activity has been delivered across the plan's four strategic priorities. Moving forward, updates will be delivered on a quarterly basis, with the next due in July 2022.

Read the 2021 – 2022 update for the Glasgow Tourism and Visitor Plan on the Glasgowlife website.