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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 19/12/2023

This year we marked St Andrew’s Day by giving international media and travel trade a taste of Scotland at special events held in key European markets, Germany and France.

Scottish trad music, islands, food and drink, and responsible tourism were the themes at the events held in the Scottish Government offices of the UK Embassies in Berlin and Paris.

The Berlin event

Led by Denise Hill, Head of Intermediary Marketing at VisitScotland, the event focused on Scotland’s exhilarating new traditional (neo-trad) music and festival scene. We set these within the context of responsible tourism and of delivering the kind of authentic, immersive experiences visitors increasingly demand.

Working in partnership with representatives of Scotland’s culture sector and Scottish Government, the case was also made for trad music as an important international export.

An exciting new video showcasing this vibrant scene, along with a whisky tasting, brought the experience to life, with tour operators and media then treated to a concert featuring Beth Malcolm Duo and Talisk, as part of the international Ceòlas tour.

A responsible tourism roundtable was also held with key representatives from the German travel industry involved in the development of sustainable travel.

Denise Hill, Head of Intermediary MarketingDenise Hill, Head of Intermediary Marketing at VisitScotland

In Paris

The event focused on Scottish islands and food and drink, led by Claire Duquenne, VisitScotland’s Assistant Marketing Manager, featuring 20 Scottish producers showcasing lifestyle products, local skills and crafts, and food and drink.

Key French media and travel trade attended along with the UK Ambassador to France, Dame Menna Rawlings, and Mairi Gougeon, MSP, Scotland's Minister for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands.

A chef giving a canape to a person attending an event

Market insights

Figures from the International Visitor Survey (IPS) found that in 2022 there were 267,000 visits from French visitors, up by a fifth compared to 2019 and just 35,000 down on a record high in 2018. It means after the United States, France is for the first time Scotland’s most valuable international tourism market. 

The German market had been slower to recover but signs are that in the first two quarters of 2023 it is pushing back, and, with 236,000 visits in 2022 and an overall spend of  £171 million, it remains one of Scotland’s biggest international markets.

Events like these are a great way to reach a wider audience of international advocates and influencers for Scotland, connect with international media and travel trade, and discuss our role in taking Scotland forward as a responsible tourism destination.

France and Germany are among our top inbound markets and are hugely important for the recovery of Scottish tourism following the impact of the pandemic.

Denise Hill, Head of Intermediary Marketing at VisitScotland

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