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Article published 21/08/2023

Positive delegate feedback for Connect 2023

VisitScotland Connect, our new flagship travel trade event, made its debut in Aberdeen earlier this year, on 19 and 20 April 2023, at P&J Live. 

The event is a vital part of our efforts to grow Scotland's share of global travel in a sustainable way and to support Scottish businesses to connect to international markets. 

VisitScotland Connect introduced our new workshop format offering a more targeted opportunity to connect buyers and suppliers through pre-arranged 1-2-1 meetings.   

We were thrilled that over the two days we helped 175 tourism businesses connect with over 250 tour operators and travel agents representing 23 countries. 

Over 6,000 meetings took place, while tour operators and travel agents were hosted on a series of "familiarisation" trips, exploring the many regions, destinations and experiences around Scotland. 

Following the event, in a bid to understand its impact and to aid planning for future years we conducted a survey of attendees. 

The research showed overwhelmingly positive feedback highlighting the events importance for businesses to generate future income and establish new contacts in international markets.

Post-evaluation highlights

  • 91% of Scottish businesses said they anticipated generating sales from attending VisitScotland Connect   

  • 87% of Scottish businesses highlighted the business potential the event provided, stating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the event 

  • 83% of Scottish businesses said VisitScotland Connect fully met or exceeded their objectives to meet new contacts 

  • 62% of anticipated sales by Scottish businesses would be to international markets

Global travel outlook

Since travel restrictions began to lift, there has been a real appetite again for global travel.  

The International Passenger (IPS) tourism statistics for 2022 revealed there were 3.2 million visits to Scotland from overseas visitors, compared to 3.46 million visits over the same period in 2019 - just 7% lower than pre-pandemic. However, the overall spend increased. 

Since the uncertainty created by the pandemic, consumers have been seeking extra reassurance and guidance offered by intermediaries like tour operators, travel agents and Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs).    

More than half of international visitors use a travel intermediary to plan and book.   

To support the tourism industry in its aspirations to internationalise we consulted with businesses and key stakeholders about their needs. As a result, we designed the VisitScotland Connect event to maximise the time Scottish businesses could spend meeting and doing business with the travel trade. 

I am pleased to hear delegates found VisitScotland Connect an effective platform to generate sales and develop new business relationships.

Getting your product onto the programmes and itineraries of international tour operators and travel agents can help your business reach more customers in new markets, helping your business to grow.

I’m happy to confirm that, following a new procurement process, the 2024 event will take place again at P&J live on 17-18 April.

Vicki Miller, Director of Marketing & Digital at VisitScotland

Upcoming travel trade events in 2023

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

Browse all upcoming travel trade events

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