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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 31/01/2023

Gordon Smith, Regional Director

Image of Gordon Smith, Regional DirectorWelcome 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 is much to build on and we remain committed to doing what we can to support the industry, whether that’s bringing people to Scotland, 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 has been a busy period in Ayrshire & Arran – from the launch of our film guide featuring Culzean Castle and Galston, to influencer activity with The Adventure Addicts testing out the new GoPro 11 camera with a trip to Arran, along with a separate visit to the island by influencers Flying the Nest, in partnership with CalMac Ferries. We have also been working with partners in the Ayrshire and Arran region to develop a new Regional Visitor Economy Strategy.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Conference at the Carlton Hotel, Prestwick that we are supporting alongside the RAD Hotel Group and Scottish Enterprise on Wednesday 15 March.

Find out more in this update on how 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.

Marketing Ayrshire & Arran

  • Set in Scotland Film Guide

    In November, we launched our updated Set in Scotland film guide. The 52-page guide, exploring big-screen locations across Scotland, includes more than 150 films and features five films shot in Ayrshire and Arran: The Wicker Man, The Governess, The Queen, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and The Flying Scotsman. Download the Set in Scotland guide.

  • The Guardian Partnership

    Between October and November, we worked on a £60,000 publishing partnership with The Guardian to promote hidden gems and unique heritage of the Highlands and Islands. Arran was showcased in articles covering winter experiences, slow adventure, wildlife, history and ancient kings. 

  • New Ayrshire & Arran content on

    Check out new content added to featuring Ayrshire & Arran:

  • Great Days Out in Scotland campaign

    This campaign highlights 'kids for a quid' tickets with Scotrail and entry to participating attractions in Ayrshire & Arran. Running until the end of March, check out the toolkit on how you can submit an offer to attract more visitors. 

  • Scotland's Year of Stories 2022

    As part of our Year of Stories activity, we partnered wth News UK (The Scottish Sun) and Reach PLC (Daily Record) to showcase storytelling attractions across national and regional print and online articles. Coverage across these publications featured:

    • Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
    • Scottish Maritime Museum


Ayrshire & Arran on social media

1.64 million reach

Number of times Ayrshire & Arran content reached people on their social channels

83,000 engagements

Number of reactions, likes, comments, shares and saves on Ayrshire & Arran posts

443,000 reach

Top performing post by reach was a sunset shot of Arran on Facebook

Ayrshire & Arran in the press

Our Corporate PR team works closely with Scottish and UK media to raise awareness of our work to promote Scotland, Ayrshire & Arran to visitors and support for the industry. 

Some of the highlights from our Corporate PR team includes:

  • Our new Set in Scotland guide featuring film shots in Ayrshire & Arran
  • An editorial from our Regional Director, Gordon Smith, looking at the current challenges facing tourism businesses
  • A press release highlighting the launch of the Go Pro HERO11 Black camera and supporting influencer activity in Arran
  • An announcement of the Ayrshire winners at the Scottish Thistle Awards

To view all the press releases, visit our media centre.

Consumer PR team highlights

Hello from our Brodick iCentre

Although there was a steady reduction in the number of visitors coming to Arran in the winter months, our iCentre staff in Brodick were delighted to see an increase in residents coming to the store to do their Christmas shopping. As well as participating in the first Shop Arran weekend in November since the pandemic, the iCentre also helped to promote events including:

  • The Christmas Farmers Market at Bellevue
  • The Christmas pantomime at Lamlash
  • The New Year's ceilidhs 

The team are looking forward to welcoming visitors back for the spring and summer seasons. 

Image from Arran iCentre staff

"All seasons in a day" - Image taken by our Brodick iCentre staff of the view across Brodick Bay to Goatfell

Many visitors have been coming to Arran since childhood and share their fond memories with us. They also explain how they have introduced their children and grandchildren to the island so that each new generation can create special memories too.

Brodick iCentre staff

Ayrshire & Arran Thistle Award winners

Good luck to The Ormidale Hotel and Auchrannie Resort, Thistle Award finalists from Ayrshire & Arran.

All regional winners will go on to compete at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final on 9 February 2023 at Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Regional Thistles Winners - West

Regional Thistle Winners. Image credit - Chris Watt Photography

You can browse all the 2022/2023 National Finalists on the Scottish Thistle Awards website.

Attend the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Conference

We're delighted to be supporting the Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Conference on Wednesday 15 March. Delivered by the Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance, the conference will take place at the Carlton Hotel in Prestwick.

The full day industry event is specifically for the hospitality and tourism sector and is a unique opportunity to come together, learn and network with others.

Ivan McKee MSP - Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise will give a ministerial address. Other speakers include:

  • Rob Dickson, Director of Destination and Industry Development, VisitScotland
  • Daniel Steele, CEO Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance
  • Joshua Ryan-Saha, Director, Traveltech for Scotland

The event is free to AADA members and £25 for non-members. There is also a extra 10% early bird discount when you book by 15 February.

Book your ticket on Eventbrite.

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