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Article published 05/09/2022

We recently conducted new research as part of the Year of Stories which revealed that visitors still yearn for that human connection while visiting an attraction, taking part in a tour, or exploring a destination in Scotland.

The new YouGov* research, which we commissioned  as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, found that almost half (49%) of UK adults feel a tour with a guide or storyteller to share our stories would appeal to them. While virtual and online experiences became the norm during two-years of lockdowns, this research has identified that in-person experiences are a top choice when it comes to storytelling.

The research also indicated other popular forms of storytelling including:

  • Exhibitions (44%)
  • Theatre and live performances (36%)
  • TV and film  (33%) 
  • Books (30%)
  • Comedy (27%)
  • Music (23%).

These new findings underline just how important the live, in person experience is to visitors and that the people working across the tourism and events industry play an essential role in sharing Scotland’s stories.

The Year of Stories is a prime opportunity for the country to show off the best we have to offer visitors and locals and clearly nothing beats hearing tales being told in person.

As we move into the Autumn and Winter, there is still a packed programme of Year of Stories events on the horizon with so many talented people sharing our stories in all sorts of inventive and exciting ways across the country.

Marie Christie, Head of Events Development, VisitScotland

Scotland’s Year of Stories has shone a wonderful spotlight on storytelling. There is a wealth of stories to be told about Scotland’s history, places and people – and this is what tourist guides do every day.

I was delighted to see that people prefer in-person storytelling, and our own experiences concur with the findings of the research – it has been one of our busiest seasons; every day there are emails from people looking for guides; many of our members are fully-booked; and already there are requests for guides in 2023.

We believe that only a real, live person telling a story face-to-face can bring that story to life, make sense of it in relation to other stories, and of course answer questions – and it is clear that this is what both domestic and international visitors want.

Lyn Brown, Chairperson, Scottish Tourist Guides Association

Across the historic sites in our care, our guides, volunteers and living history performers use storytelling as a way of bringing the history of these special places to life for visitors.

Through projects such as our If These Walls Could Talk competition, we are also engaging young people with the past through stories, using Scotland’s historic sites as inspiration for the next generation of storytellers.

Gillian MacDonald, Head of Sales and Marketing at Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

When someone shares their story directly 'eye to eye, mind to mind, heart to heart', they are gifting you something of themselves- there's a special connection- and listeners feel the magic.

Donald Smith, Director, Scottish International Storytelling Festival

How to get involved in the Year of Stories

Year of Stories logo in black font

If you're yet to get involved with the Year of Stories 2022 - there's still time!

Scotland’s Year of Stories will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. The year will 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. It will contribute to recovery from the pandemic and inspire new stories of Scotland to be shared.

Our Year of Stories toolkit includes a range of advice, top tips, key themes, logo downloads and more, so you can use the Year of Stories to tell your own unique story.

Take a look at the toolkit today. 


*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2343 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 13-14 July 2022.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

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