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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 17/01/2023

Introduction from David Jackson, Regional Director

Photo of David Jackson, Regional Director for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire


Welcome to the first regional update of the year. In this update, we look back at our key activity in the last quarter of 2022.

Our industry continues to adjust to tough new financial circumstances and it's clear that these will continue to impact in the year ahead. But there's much to build on and we remain committed to doing what we can to support the industry, whether that’s bringing people to Scotland and our region, offering support and guidance to businesses, or creating opportunities for growth and investment.  

Our marketing, funding and business support activities are all aimed at building on these shoots of recovery to support the responsible growth of our industry.  

It's been a busy period across the region, from the launch of our film guide, Set in Scotland, to our support for the new Rural Tourism Infrastructure project at Aden Country Park and much more.  

Find out more in this regional update on how all our work is helping to support the ambitions of the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, for Scotland to be a world leader in 21st century tourism. 

Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards

Congratulations to the winners at the Aberdeen City & Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA) which were held at the Chester Hotel, Aberdeen on Friday 11 November 2022.  

The awards saw more than 250 tourism professionals come together for the first time since 2019 to recognise and celebrate the very best of the region’s tourism industry. Twelve of the award winners on the night will now go on to the prestigious national Scottish Thistle Awards finals in February, including: 

  • Lys-na-Greyne, Aboyne (Best B&B or Guest House Experience) 

  • Titan Sky Bar, Meldrum Country House Hotel (Best Bar or Pub) 

  • Kirk View, Aberdeen (Best Eatery Experience) 

  • Maryculter House, Aberdeen (Best Hotel Experience, over 20 rooms) 

  • Douneside House, Aboyne (Best Hotel Experience, under 20 rooms) 

  • Wild Discovery, Ballater (Best Outdoor or Adventure Experience) 

  • Down on the Farm, Fraserburgh (Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience) 

  • Macduff Marine Aquarium, Macduff (Best Visitor Attraction Experience) 

  • City of Aberdeen Distillery & Gin School, Aberdeen (Food Tourism Award) 

  • Jazz Festival, Aberdeen (Outstanding Cultural Event or Festival) 

  • Marta Skowron-Thieulen, Hilton and Aloft, Aberdeen (Tourism & Hospitality Hero) 

  • Cairngorm Lodges & Bothies, Aboyne (Working Together for Tourism)

  • These north-east finalists will also be joined by the P&J Live who are shortlisted for the national Best Business Event award. 

We wish all finalists the best of luck at the Thistles Final, which will take place on 9 February at Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Updates from the iCentre

In this edition of the industry update, we hear from our Assistant iCentre Manager's from our Aberdeen iCentre, Ryan Craig, and our Ballater iCentre, Fiona McCulloch. articles

Here's an overview of some of the new and updated content on which is featuring Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire:

Corporate press activity update

Our Corporate Press team works closely with Scottish and UK media to raise awareness of our work to promote Scotland, including Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, to visitors and deliver support for our industry.    

Highlights from October – December 2022 include:  

  • An opinion editorial from Regional Director, David Jackson, regarding the tourism industry’s resilience during challenging operating times was issued to media. Coverage was achieved in the Ellon Times, Mearns Leader and Deeside Piper, among others and David was interviewed by Original 106. 

  • Our Set in Scotland film guide was launched, with David Jackson interviewed by STV at Dunnottar Castle and a story appearing in the P&J, Evening Express. Take a look at the article. 

  • New accessible toilet facilities were unveiled at Aden Country Park, thanks to our Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF). Coverage of this announcement included Grampian Online, and the Fraserburgh Herald and Buchan Observer. 


Year of Stories 2022

The end of 2022 has closed the book on the Year of Stories, however there’s a wealth of resources and information on to continue the legacy of the Year.

Recent Year of Stories paid campaign activity between 1 October and 31 December included: 

  • Community Stories Fund campaigns with Reach PLC and Mediaforce

    • events supported by the Year of Stories Community Stories Fund were promoted in September and October via two media partnerships
    • the campaigns included display ads, social media posts and online articles
    • the partnership with Reach PLC included four articles in the Daily Record
    • the partnership with Mediaforce published content on the websites of The Scotsman, The Herald, The Aberdeen P&J, The Dundee Courier and Inverness Courier
    • events that were showcased in October included Legendary Deeside in Aberdeenshire. 
  • Year of Stories Influencer campaign

    We worked in partnership with influencer Megan Beaudry took place across October and November through a series of videos promoted through Megan’s Instagram (@megbeaudry) and Tiktok (@megbeaudry) accounts.

    This activity featured a Learn Doric video which received 37,000 video views and a film locations video featuring Dunnottar Castle which received 272,000 video views 

  • Year of Stories Days Out campaign

    • a campaign showcasing a range of these attractions across national print, regional print and online articles

    • to promoted attractions across the country that were storytelling attractions / tours, had a Days Out offer or had good stories to tell

    • we partnered with publishing partners News UK (The Scottish Sun) and Reach PLC (Daily Record and regional print titles) to undertake

  • Press coverage

    • Daily Record native article on 27 October and print article on 26 October featured Aberdeen Art Gallery 
    • The Sun print article on 5 November featured Provost Skene’s House  
    • Aberdeen Live native article on 16 November which includes various Aberdeen / Aberdeenshire events and attractions such as Tales from the Lifeboat Shed at Johnshaven Heritage Hub, Map of Stories Film Ceilidh at Elphinstone Institute in Aberdeen and more

Regional marketing

In early December, we welcomed influencer Rebecca Lamb (@rebeccaellenlamb) and her family to Aberdeen for three nights as part of our Scotland is Calling campaign activity.

As part of her visit she created an Instagram Reel and YouTube Video sharing the places they visited during their three night stay.

Rebecca's Instagram Reel (a short highlights video approximately 30 seconds long) received an engagement of more than 30,766 views, 659 likes, 12 saves, 15 comments and a reach of more than 22,642.

Her YouTube video, a 21-minute vlog of her time exploring Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, received more than 5,200 views, 20 comments and 239 likes.

Regional businesses supported and featured during this visit were:

  • Aberdeen Science Centre
  • Banchory Lodge Hotel
  • Sandman Signature Hotel
  • 210 Bistro
  • Aberdeen Christmas Village
  • Potarch Cafe
  • Aberdeenshire Highland Beef Farm
  • The Boat Inn
  • Grampian Transport Museum
  • Cowshed Restaurant.

As seen on social media

3.35 million users

were reached by content featuring Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire across Instagram, Facebook and TikTok

28,700 users

engaged with our most popular piece of content including the region this quarter on Instagram

More than 18,000

liked the #Coosday photo which was the region's best performing Instagram post. Coo-te!

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