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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 05/07/2023

Taking Scotland to the trade

Our intermediary marketing teams undertake an extensive annual programme of travel trade activity. This allows us to take Scotland to the world in collaboration with tour operators and travel agents around the globe.

Read about recent activity, check out events coming up later in 2023, and browse opportunities for your business to get involved.

Tartan Week 2023

This April marked the 25th anniversary of Tartan Day and the largest ever Tartan Day Parade in New York City. As ever, this was a great platform for our team to draw attention for Scottish tourism.

A key part of the programme was engagement with our travel trade audiences. This included round table sessions and networking events with major US operators and partners including CIE, Tauck, Tenon Tours, USTOA, and VisitBritain.

A travel agent event delivered in partnership with Diageo and the V&A Dundee shone a spotlight on Johnnie Walker Princes Street Experience and the V&A’s new flagship exhibition "Tartan". Both were a perfect fit for the year’s celebration and fresh motivation for the audience's clients to visit Scotland.

A group picture at Tartan Week

VisitScotland Connect 2023

We held our new flagship travel trade event at P&J Live in Aberdeen on 19 and 20 April. It was our first in-person live travel trade event since 2019. And there was enormous enthusiasm among buyers and suppliers alike to be back together at a live event in Scotland.

Key statistics from our new workshop-style format

Total suppliers

Over 170 Scottish businesses attended VisitScotland connect.

Total buyers

Over 250 tour operators, travel agents and destination management companies attended.

Total meetings

More than 6,000 meetings took place, plus a programme of day and evening networking opportunities.


23 countries were represented from across the UK, US, Canada, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Our focus on responsible tourism was at the heart of the event. Buyers were introduced to suppliers to find out more about Scotland’s sustainable products and experiences. This included 109 international buyers taking part in familiarisation trips.

Not coincidentally, the venue we chose for the event was also the most responsible event venue in the UK.

Information on VisitScotland 2024 will be announced soon.

Read more about VisitScotland Connect 2023

ETOA Destinations Exchange Europe

Taking place in London on 12 and 13 June 2023, this event combined panel discussions, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, and business workshop sessions focused on the future challenges of developing tourism across Europe.

Denise Hill, our Head of Intermediary Marketing represented Scotland in a panel discussion. She was joined by representatives from the tourism authorities of the Paris Region and from Madrid.

Key topics of the panel discussion included:

  • visitor management
  • the demands of the evolving consumer
  • the role of tourism authorities to shape sustainable experiences in partnership with the travel trade

Two days of meetings with the audience showed high levels of interest in selling Scotland. Destination management companies, wholesalers and online travel agents were all in attendance.

Together, they identified opportunities to drive more visits into Scotland during the quieter shoulder and off-season months and noted an increased interest in travel by train and electric vehicle.

Destination Exchange Europe is part of a wider programme of six annual events staged by ETOA.

See more travel trade events
A group picture at ETOA

Workshop programme in China

In June 2023, we returned to China for the first time since 2019. Our programme was full of travel trade events, sales calls and meetings with our tour operator and airline partners across China.

We hosted three workshops with destination training in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai for operators and agents keen to develop Scotland for their clients.

Hainan Airlines launched their twice weekly direct flights between Beijing and Edinburgh in June. During the workshops, they partnered with us on presentations to raise awareness among the trade for this new service.

Coming up in November, VisitBritain's Destination Britain China event will be a key opportunity to meet the travel trade in China.

Learn more about Destination Britain China
A group picture at Tartan Week

Upcoming travel trade events in 2023

The following is a selection of events that our representatives will be attending later in 2023.

You can also browse a longer list of upcoming travel trade events or get in touch with us about any events at

Browse all upcoming travel trade events

  • Coach Tourism Association's summer networking event (23 - 24 July)

    This event is an opportunity to engage with some of the association's 150 members (coach tour operators and tour wholesalers based in the UK).

    Read more about the event.

  • Destination Britain North America (7 - 10 September)

    This showcase workshop event by VisitBritain takes place in San Francisco this year.

    Registrations are now closed but we are interested in hearing from you if you have a product which you think may be relevant to be promoted to the North American market.

    Read more about the event

  • World Travel Market (6 - 8 November)

    This leading travel trade event brings together domestic and international buyers and sellers in London. We will attend this event as part of the UKinbound, forming a “Scotland section” along with other Scottish partners.

    Over the course of three days, we'll meet with over 100 key travel trade, media, and marketing contacts. Key points on our agenda are market insights, intelligence, and product development for 2024 and beyond, including responsible travel as a priority topic.

    Read more about the event

  • Destination Britain China (22 - 24 November)

    This is an opportunity for businesses that are ready to trade with China. Meet with buyers in Shanghai across a programme of workshop meetings, seminars and networking.

    Read more about the event.

  • USTOA’s annual conference (2 - 6 December)

    USTOA members are invited to attend their annual conference in Los Angeles. As a member, we'll be attending to meet with buyers from across North America.

    Read more about the event.

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