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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 05/05/2023

Introduction from Regional Director, Lynsey Eckford

Welcome to our latest regional update of the year where we look back at our key activity for the first quarter of 2023 between January and March.

There are many challenges still facing our industry but at the start of our traditional tourism season in Scotland, we want to remind those in tourism and events of how far we have come, and the opportunities that lie ahead.

It was fantastic to be able to celebrate the hard work, passion and commitment within tourism and events at the National Final of the Scottish Thistle Awards in February. And with the countdown to the UCI Cycling World Championships taking place this summer firmly on, we launched a cycling industry toolkit to help support businesses to make the most of the opportunity and further develop Scottish cycling tourism.

Scottish Tourism Month in March presented the opportunity to celebrate our achievements and for the industry to come together at events throughout the region to share learnings, best practice and ideas for future collaboration.

Here’s a round up of some of our activity in Forth Valley in recent months. 

Welcome from our new Regional Director

Lynsey Eckford has stepped into the role of Regional Director, which will see her work with stakeholders and partners across the region to find ways to support the growth of the visitor economy.

We spoke with Lynsey about how she is keen to engage with the communities and about some of the tourism developments in the pipeline.

Lynsey Eckford

Lynsey Eckford, VisitScotland Regional Director

The last few years have been transformative for everyone. And as I start in this new role with VisitScotland, I am excited to work with and support the community and tourism industry as we move forward towards recovery.

It has been almost 20 years since I began my career in tourism and hospitality. My journey started with a role at a local hotel, where I was lucky enough to learn from hardworking and passionate colleagues who inspired me to pursue this field as a career.

Before becoming VisitScotland's Regional Director for Loch Lomond, The Trossachs & Forth Valley, I served as an Industry Relationship Manager for Glasgow. Partnership and collaboration are at the heart of Scottish tourism and help us strike a balance that allows communities to flourish whilst also benefitting from tourism. This is one of the prime focuses of my role and the role of VisitScotland.

I look forward to working with you all.

Lynsey Eckford, VisitScotland Regional Director

Corporate PR update

Our corporate press officers for Loch Lomond, The Trossachs & Forth Valley (LLTFV) work to promote VisitScotland and our partners activity through press, broadcast, online and social media. They showcase the region to our visitors and supporting the industry to offer the best experience for them.

Here's some of our latest press activity and highlights:

  • Capitalising on cycling in Loch Lomond, The Trossachs & Forth Valley

    We encouraged tourism businesses in Loch Lomond, The Trossachs & Forth Valley to use the cycling industry toolkit available on our industry website to capitalise on the UCI Cycling World Championships and cycling tourism in Scotland. You can find out more about that later, as part of this update.

  • Reaching for the stars

    Slackbrae self-catering cottage on a historical Brucefield Estate in Clackmannanshire scored a 5 Star Award from our Quality Assurance scheme on its first assessment and we shared the news in a press release. It became the only accommodation of its standard in Clackmannanshire.

  • The Scottish Thistle Awards

    We celebrated the very best of Scotland’s tourism and events industry at the National Final of the Scottish Thistle Awards, congratulations to the finalists and winners. Find out more about entering this year in this update.

  • Promoting LLTFV in Berlin

    A Clackmannanshire business joined us as part of a group of Scottish businesses taken to the world’s leading travel trade event, ITB Berlin

  • Get connected

    We encouraged tourism businesses across Scotland to take part in VisitScotland Connect, our global travel trade workshop which took place in Aberdeen.

Latest blogs

We can reach potential visitors to LLTFV through blogs, which are targeted online content. Blogs are one way in which we can really focus on specific topics that we know, from our research, that our visitors are searching for, or are interested in.

You can share our blogs which are available on Some blogs which feature Loch Lomond, The Trossachs & Forth Valley:


Blog from

Blog featuring Old town, Stirling

5 Star Quality Assurance award

Self-catering cottage Slackbrae, on the Brucefield Estate near Forestmill, has scored a Five Star Quality Assurance Award on its first assessment, becoming the only accommodation of its standard in Clackmannanshire.

Originally a forester’s cottage and the gatehouse to the estate dating back to the 1700s, Slackbrae has been completely renovated using a conservation approach with sustainable materials to achieve an energy efficient house.

As well as offering a top-quality stay, the estate, which sits close to Falkirk, Perth & Kinross, Fife and Stirlingshire, offers guests guided tours and walks, tree-planting experience, and bat walks.

Our Quality Assurance visit determined that the accommodation offers an outstanding quality of guest accommodation, and the demonstration of exceptional standards in hospitality and cleanliness.

Find out more about our Quality Assurance scheme


From left to right - Dawid Nowak - Brucefield Estate Reservations and Housekeeping Specialist, Neil Christison – VisitScotland Regional Director, Victoria Bruce-Winkler – Brucefield Estate Owner and Manager, Graham Hodgson – Brucefield Estate Land Officer at Slackbrae self-catering cottage.

Global PR activity


The Times newspaper included the Helix loop around Falkirk as a top cycling suggestion to visitors and signposted readers to The article also mentioned Helix Park: Home of the Kelpies, The Falkirk Wheel and Callendar House.

Stirling was included in a round-up of romantic destinations around Valentine’s Day in The Sunday Post which has a reach of 135,000.

Helix Park

Helix Park - Home of the Kelpies


The Kelpies were featured in German travel magazine - GEO Saison as one of the 13 experiences not to be missed on a trip to Scotland.

Doune Castle and Deanston Distillery were featured in a round-up of Outlander locations in an article in German entertainment magazine TV Spielfilm.

Stirling was featured in a round-up of Scotland’s five most impressive castles in an article in German online travel magazine

French magazine Tourmag highlighted Forth Valley in a round-up of day trip destinations from a Glasgow based trip.

A two-page travel feature on Falkirk, highlighting both the Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel, was published in the Danish publication Rejser by Jysk Fynske Medier.

Doune Castle

Doune Castle, near the village of Doune

Gear up for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships come to Glasgow and venues across Scotland in August this year. Both Loch Lomond and Stirling are host regions for the event and we are perfectly "geared" up for this flagship event!

It will be the single biggest cycling event in history, bringing together for the first time 13 existing UCI World Championships into one mega event. Partners and tourism businesses are encouraged to help promote both the event as well as celebrate the #PowerOfTheBike.

There are dedicated pages on the UCI Cycling World Championships website for the host regions. These pages are a great resource for visitors whether they are spectators to the events or taking part. It’s a great resource to share on your channels.

We’ve also developed a digital toolkit which has been created to help you maximise the opportunity through a range of assets and ready-to-use content.

Take a look at our cycling toolkit

UCI World Championships

Watch and share the campaign film

Scotland. Made for Cycling

Our latest campaign Scotland. Made for Cycling has been designed to create a compelling proposition to underpin the focus on Scotland as a leading cycling tourism destination, in the run-up to and beyond the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

Check out our campaign video and share with your visitors.

Scotland. Made for Cycling

The Scottish Thistle Awards

A huge congratulations to The Helix: Home of the Kelpies who won the Scotland's Great Day Out Award, voted for by the readers of the Scottish Sun, at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Finals in February this year. These awards are the highest accolade in the Scottish hospitality, tourism and events sector.

Why enter the awards? Read our latest news story on "Seven reasons why your tourism business should enter for 2023"

The Kelpies

The Helix: Home of the Kelpies.

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