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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 07/04/2022

Scotland Week back in full

Rebuilding international demand is crucial to helping Scotland’s tourism and events industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week see’s Scotland Week back in full this year, with events across the US and Canada. It celebrates Scotland’s enduring cultural, historical, educational, and economic links between our countries.

Thousands of people across the US and Canada unite every year to celebrate Scotland Week (also known as Tartan Week).

For the last 20 years, VisitScotland, Scottish Government and many other organisations have participated in a weeklong programme of consumer, stakeholder and partner events to create an authentic Scottish experience for everyone taking part.

After a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VisitScotland’s in-person events return for 2022.

Canada event

US and Canada activity

Our team have travelled to both the US and Canada this week to showcase a modern Scotland. They’ll also build on momentum from COP26 to show how we’re tackling climate change.

Activity includes:

  • A media lunch for 10 A-list journalists
  • Destination Training – Immersive Luxury Scotland – with 50 luxury travel advisors
  • Stakeholder networking evening event for 130 key accounts – tour operators, cultural contacts and SDI key accounts
  • Roundtables with partners such as the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies
  • Diaspora breakfast for 50 key diaspora contacts
  • Two Responsible travel panel discussions with the University of Guelph in Canada for 40 students and luxury travel publisher AFAR in New York, for 50 key influencers and media contacts
  • And an alumni reception for 230 alumni of Scottish universities, inspiring them to spread the word!

Our Director of Marketing Vicki Miller is appearing on NBC’s New York Live to help create some buzz! We’re also creating a ‘pop up’ Scotland House, in conjunction with the Scottish Government and Scottish Development International.

All of our activity culminates with the prestigious NYC Tartan Day Parade this Saturday (9 April) with Scottish actress Karen Gillan as Grand Marshal.

Tartan Day Takeaway 2022 with Tony SinghTartan Day Takeaway 2022 with the Kilted Yogi

Focus on the Tartan Day Takeaway event

Hundreds of New Yorkers enjoyed a taste of Scotland on 6 April, courtesy of a special Tartan Day Takeaway event hosted by VisitScotland.

As part of our Scotland Week activity, we treated locals to some tasty Scottish street food served by Scottish TV Chef and restaurateur Tony Singh.

Hosted next to Madison Square Park in Manhattan, the pop-up food truck’s menu, inspired by Tony Singh’s Scottish Sikh heritage, featured Punjabi Salmon Tacos, Kheer with Islay Whisky Sweet Mango, washed down with Scotland’s ‘other national drink’ Irn Bru.

The Tartan Day festivities were led by Finlay Wilson, the Kilted Yogi who conducted some fun-filled kilted yoga with passers-by and fuelled by Scottish music.

North America is Scotland’s largest international market

North America is Scotland’s largest international market, and the return of these visitors is vital for the long-term recovery of our valuable tourism and events industry.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US was the largest international market for visitors to Scotland with the highest number of visits (636,000) and expenditure (£717 million) in 2019.

Meanwhile Canada was the top international market for visitors visiting multiple regions of within Scotland between 2017 and 2019.

Scotland’s rich history and diverse culture are a strong motivator for both US and Canadian visitors. An increase in film and TV shows set in Scotland in recent years such as Outlander and the country’s reputation as the ‘Home of Golf’ have also helped attract visitors.

Recent research by VisitBritain into consumer sentiment towards international travel during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has found 80% of US and 77% of Canadian respondents intend to travel abroad for leisure purposes within the next 12 months with consideration for Scotland increasing among all age groups.

Our Director of Marketing Vicki Miller appearing on NBC’s New York Live

Tartan Week, and creative events such as the Tartan Day Takeaway, are a key part of our work to keep Scotland top of mind and rebuild international demand.

It complements our global marketing ‘Scotland is Calling’ campaign – which aims to make Scotland the destination of choice for all visitors in 2022 and beyond – as well as our work with inbound travel trade and airline partners to secure the return of direct routes.

We know there is pent-up demand for travel and hope North America has enjoyed a flavour of the best Scotland has to offer this week. Scotland is open and our tourism and events industry looks forward to welcoming back visitors.

Vicki Miller, VisitScotland Director of Marketing & Digital

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