Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 07/02/2023

Victoria Harvey, Development Manager

Image of Victoria HarveyWelcome 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 is 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, 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 the Outer Hebrides - from the launch of our film location guide to the new Great Days Out campaign, encouraging people to take advantage of the discounted rates and experience a day out plus much more. It was also encouraging to see the great turnout for the Cruise Business Readiness workshop held in early December with exciting things on the horizon as the Stornoway Deep Water Port build continues.

Find out more in this regional update about 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. 

Marketing the Outer Hebrides

  • 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 5 films shot in the Outer Hebrides including The Road Dance and Whisky Galore!. Download the Set in Scotland guide.

  • New blogs on featuring Outer Hebrides:

  • 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. The Outer Hebrides were showcased in articles covering winter experiences, slow adventure, wildlife, history and ancient kings. 

  • CalMac campaign

    We've continued our partnership activity with CalMac Ferries to highlight island routes including the Outer Hebrides. 

    • On social media, west coast island content has been seen by 9.9 million people across August, September and October with 487,000 engagements. 
    • An 'Autumn breaks' email dedicated to ferry travel was sent to over 415,000 subscribers. 

Outer Hebrides in the press

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

Some of the highlights from our Corporate PR team includes:

  • The launch of our Great Days Out in Scotland campaign with Historic Environment Scotland, Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions and ScotRail
  • The launch of our new film guide Set in Scotland featuring several films shot across the Outer Hebrides
  • The results of the 2022 Scottish Agritourism Tracker were published. This is an important sector for the region, highlighting the value and future opportunities for farms and rural communities
  • An opinion editorial from our Development Manager, Victoria Harvey, looking at the upcoming winter season was issued to the Outer Hebrides media. 

Consumer PR team highlights

Hello from our Stornoway iCentre

Our Stornoway iCentre team enjoyed a busy few months. Some of their highlights include:

  • Seeing more visitors than usual over the winter months and helping locals with everything from buying Christmas presents to booking bus tickets to helping new islanders find their way
  • Helping an online customer looking to gather island information to inspire his family to visit the Outer Hebrides in the future 
  • Supporting visitors who have decided to move to the Outer Hebrides permanently.

The team are also looking forward to the Dark Skies Festival in March. Tickets for the website are now available at the An Lanntair website along with the full event programme. 

Stornoway port and Harbour

Stornoway Port and Harbour. Credit VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Cruise Business Readiness Workshop

The Cruise Forum, consisting of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Stornoway Port Authority (SPA), Outer Hebrides Tourism and VisitScotland, held the first industry engagement event at the end of 2022. This provided businesses, stakeholders and community groups with an insight to the preparations for the Stornoway Deep Water Port, which continues to build momentum ahead of its completion in 2024.

The event allowed delegates to learn more about destination management and how to take tourism experiences to the next level. 

Alex MacLeod, Chief Executive of SPA, provided an overview of the cruise industry and an update on the Deep Water Port. This is a major development to establish Stornoway as the only port in the northwest of Scotland where large ships can berth alongside. It will enable the Outer Hebrides to fulfil its potential as a great destination for UK cruise itineraries. 

If you're a tourism business operating in the Outer Hebrides, take a look at the 'Being Cruise Ready' guide to prepare for the growth in cruise.

Year of Stories 2022

The end of 2022 has closed the book on Scotland's 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 featuring Outer Hebrides between October and December included:

  • Community Stories fund campaign with Reach and Mediaforce: events supported through this fund were promoted in October via two media partnerships. The campaigns were included across a range of online channels including social media and online articles. The Outer Hebrides Journey to the Isles event was included in this activity. 
  • Year of Stories Days Out campaign: To promote storytelling attractions across the country, we partnered with News UK (The Scottish Sun) and Reach PLC (Daily Record) and highlighted these attractions across nation and regional print and online articles. The Arnol Blackhouse in the Outer Hebrides was included in this activity. 

Related links