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Article published 12/12/2023

Our Meet the Team series is a monthly spotlight on staff across VisitScotland and EventScotland. In this feature, hear from our Connections Marketing Manager, Noelle Campbell, and learn more about her role. 

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m originally from Inverness, and was bitten by the travel bug early on, not least due to the wonderful scenery that’s so accessible in the Highlands.

Having decided that the tourism industry offered the career path for me, I undertook an honours degree in Tourism Management at Edinburgh Napier University. Over the years, I’ve gained experience in a variety of industry sectors including hotels, visitor attractions, and tour operations. After several years at the former AILLST area tourist board, I joined VisitScotland, and have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed working in a variety of different and interesting roles, including a six-month secondment to the National Museums Scotland.

In my spare time, I like to keep fit by attending various dance classes, I’m a voracious reader, and I love attending all sorts of cultural events and exhibitions, plus of course exploring other areas of Scotland.

Noelle at National Museum of Scotland
Noelle at National Museum of Scotland

What's your current role at VisitScotland?

Sitting within the Brand and Global Marketing Department, part of our Marketing and Digital Directorate, my role has a number of facets.

I’m responsible for identifying, nurturing and growing long-term relationships with high-profile stakeholders within the Scottish connections community both here in Scotland and internationally. This includes global diaspora networks, Scottish universities alumni, and cultural partners who have international growth ambitions. Across these activities, I regularly liaise with Scottish Government, including their global hubs and policy colleagues.

I’m the designated manager for ancestral tourism, developing and implementing ancestral tourism plans in line with wider marketing strategy and objectives.

More recently, I’ve assumed new responsibilities in leading and supporting the delivery of our global marketing campaigns across our main markets, of the UK, USA, Germany and France.

It’s a hugely rewarding role, in which I work with a wide range of different partners, stakeholders and agencies.

As Connections Marketing Manager, you’ve recently been really involved with the Scottish Connections Framework. Can you tell us a bit about this framework and why it's important?

The Scottish Connections Framework was launched at New York City Tartan Week 2023. For some time, there has been a recognition that there are many people across the world who are passionate about their connections with Scotland, and who therefore have the potential to act as ambassadors for Scotland as a world class place to visit, study, live, work and do businesses.

The Framework sets out a cohesive approach to engaging and working with our global diaspora in ways which will benefit Scotland economically and culturally, but also brings benefits to diaspora communities themselves.

It takes a wide definition of the term ‘diaspora.’ This definition includes those who have family or ancestral links, those who have studied here or do business in Scotland, have come from elsewhere to make Scotland their home, or who simply feel an affinity with Scotland.

Noelle at New York's Tartan Week 2023

The Framework has been produced by Scottish Government with input from partner organisations, and my role thus far has been to contribute the Visit element of the plan, as well as offer insights from my experience of working with various stakeholder groups internationally.

Read more about the Scottish Connections Framework on the Scottish Government website.

Why should ancestral tourism be of interest to Scottish tourism businesses?

Responsible tourism is a key focus of VisitScotland’s strategy, and visitors with ancestral links really are the ideal responsible visitors in so many ways.

It’s estimated that there are at least 40 million people who claim Scottish ancestry across the world, and consecutive VisitScotland surveys have shown that Scottish ancestry is a very significant motivating factor for consumers visiting Scotland from the long haul markets of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. These surveys have shown that between a quarter and a third of visitors from these regions cite their Scottish ancestry as the primary reason, or at least one of the main reasons, for choosing to visit Scotland.

Ancestral visitors are also more likely than average to stay longer in Scotland, visit out with the peak summer months, visit a wider range of geographical locations, and make repeat visits.

Any business stands to benefit from ancestral tourism, and our Ancestral Tourism Toolkit contains a wealth of tips and resources to help them meet the needs of the ancestral visitor.

Take a look at our Ancestral Tourism Toolkit

Do you have a favourite place in Scotland that you love to visit, or where’s next on your Scotland bucket list?

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to pretty much every part of Scotland and have many favourite places across the country.

I always love to travel back to the Highlands – once I reach the Cairngorms I have a tremendous feeling of being home.

I have a certain soft spot for Loch Lomond, and really loved getting a whole different view of the area when along with some friends, I tackled the West Highland Way. Getting into the countryside really does give you an appreciation of the unspoiled nature of Scotland.

And of course being a Campbell, I feel a connection with the Clan Campbell heartlands in Argyll where I’ve enjoyed many wonderful stays. Particular highlights have been visiting Inveraray Castle – my clan seat! – and the stunning views right across the islands of the Inner Hebrides from the viewing point at Arduaine Gardens. I highly recommend!

In 2024, I’m hoping to travel to the North Highlands and to revisit some of the islands.

Inverary Castle
Inveraray Castle

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