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Article published 22/01/2024

Introduction from David Jackson

It’s been a busy time for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire over recent months with a range of activity and initiatives underway to support tourism growth in the region.

Our close collaboration with VisitAberdeenshire and other stakeholders in the region has been at the heart of much of this, including:

  • the co-delivery of industry workshops
  • a targeted accessibility programme

We're also working together to maximise the opportunities provided by Aberdeen’s hosting of our flagship travel trade event, VisitScotland Connect, in both 2024 and 2025.

Its been great to support and attend a number of industry events in the region including the newly formed North East Tourism Forum, VisitAberdeenshire’s regular networking events, and the Scottish Agritourism roadshow at Marshall’s Farm.

Its also been a pleasure to support some of the major sporting and cultural events in the region. This includes the PGA Seniors Legends Tour at Trump International and the more recent Provenance Festival, which celebrated the very best of food and drink across the North East.

I’m also looking forward to continuing to support the region’s ambitious events programme over the coming months, starting with the award-winning Spectra - Scotland’s Festival of Light – in Aberdeen in early February.

I hope you find our latest update useful.

David Jackson, Regional Director - Aberdeen
David Jackson, Regional Director - Aberdeen

Scotland and UK Press activity

Our corporate PR team works closely with Scottish and UK media to raise awareness of how our work promotes Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to visitors and of how we offer support for the industry.

Some of the most recent press highlights

A quote to a story in the P&J's Weekend Edition about the growth of whisky tourism. Read P&J's Weekend Edition on pressandjournal.co.uk.

A supportive quote from Regional Director, David Jackson, for a VisitAberdeenshire press release on an inclusive tourism event.

We announced the return of our successful travel trade event – Connect – in April 2024, issuing a regional media release encouraging businesses from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to sign up. Read our regional media release.

We announced businesses shortlisted in the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards as part of the Scottish Thistle Awards programme for 2023. Read our news item on the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Award winners.

We provided a supportive quote from David Jackson for inclusion in a story about Aberdeen Science Centre retaining its Five Star Quality Assurance award. Read more about science centre's award on grampianonline.co.uk.

In November, we compiled an opinion editorial from David Jackson, featuring the autumn and winter marketing activity to drive year-round visitors and reflecting on the current climate for tourism. Browse David Jackson's editorial on aberdeenlive.news.

Key statistics on social media

5.1 million

reached through Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire content across all channels

577,500

reactions, likes, comments, shares, and saves of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire posts

186,700

reached by our top performing Instagram post - of a Highland Coo in Aberdeenshire

An update from Aberdeen iCentre

The Aberdeen iCentre team has, over the last few months, been focusing on networking with local schools and universities.

In September and October, they participated in the University of Aberdeen’s freshers and post-grad events. They had a pop-up stall to help familiarise new students with Aberdeen and promote hidden gems to existing students.

In December, the iCentre hosted a class of travel and tourism students from Aberdeen Grammar School to learn more about working in tourism.

Reflecting on our summer, the iCentre team hosted numerous events on cruise ship days with shortbread tastings from our local suppliers and tastings from Aberdeen Whisky Shop. VisitAberdeenshire’s volunteers promoted these on the South Harbour quay.

Regional marketing

In the lead up to the October school holidays, we partnered again with ScotRail for another phase of our Beano-themed campaign. This included family focused promotions to promote sustainable days out and geographic spread across the ScotRail network. 

Aberdeen Science Centre featured in our ads to create effective thumb-stopping and engaging content to captivate our audience and drive engagement to the landing page on our consumer site, visitscotland.com.

View the campaign on visitscotland.com

Email marketing

Our email marketing team regularly sends emails to our global database of approximately 1 million subscribers. This equates to fifteen markets and translated into five languages.

Crafted with seasonality, geographical spread, and responsible tourism threaded throughout, we signpost to regions and businesses across Scotland including Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

We target audiences at various stages as they move through the holiday planning cycle. This includes dedicated messaging to new subscribers, introducing key experiences, travel inspiration and retention messaging to support users as they plan.

Messages are targeted based on a variety of factors, including the subscribers’ location and individual user preferences. This allows us to segment and send tailored content by user's interests.

Our marketing activity this quarter

We've been working in partnership with national organisations to promote Scotland to domestic and international audiences.

  • Expedia UK and US

    We've been working with Expedia UK and US to promote food and drink from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, in the Innovative Tastes sections of our Scotland is calling landing page.

    Take a look at the UK campaign on expedia.co.uk.

    Browse the US campaign on expedia.com.

  • Go Pro

    We partnered again with GoPro to showcase Scotland as a bucket-list destination, and the ultimate adventure destination with ancestral links to a North American audience.

    We achieved this by targeting an audience via GoPro's network of advocates and channels.

    In September GoPro ambassador, Brooke Wilson travelled to Scotland from Calgary as part of the campaign. This was Brooke's first experience of Scotland.

    She travelled with her friend, Maddy Elrick, who has Scottish ancestry linked to Elrick, Aberdeenshire.

    Browse Brooke Wilson's page on instagram.com.

    Chack out Maddy Elrick's page on instagram.com.

Global PR activity

Our Global PR team works to promote Scotland across key media outlets, which have been identified through years of work and relationship building. The team can place the right story, at the right time, in-front of the right audience.

Working primarily with media in the travel and lifestyle space, it can take anything from one week to one year or more to see the results of the team’s always on activity aligning with our seasonal messaging, organisation priorities, and editorial calendars. 

In the period July to September, the team delivered:

  • 11 proactive communication bundles and press releases received in multiple languages by 2,500 media contacts
  • releases and communications, covering themes that included cycling, outdoor adventure, cities, agritourism, responsible travel, festivals, Barbiecore, and much more
  • more than 150 tailored pitches to a range of media titles
  • 1000 individual engagements with contacts from across the world
  • attending in person events, including Destination Britain China, St Andrew’s Day receptions in Paris and Berlin, and WTM in London
  • hosting for 76 media in various locations across Scotland

Travel Trade activity

Two Aberdeenshire businesses took part in our Travel Trade workshop on 5 December that was held at the Waterloo Place Hotel in Edinburgh.

This was a new event format created to facilitate engagement between Scottish suppliers and buyers from Destination Management Companies (DMCs).

It allowed Scottish businesses in the early stages of their development to begin familiarising with the requirements of the travel trade and aid with their business development.

Businesses were selected because of their sustainable product offering and business practices and because they represented a wide regional spread.

This allowed us to influence the development of responsible programmes among the Destination Management Companies that are selling Scotland tours to tour operators and travel agents around the world.

Thank you to Farm Stop and Hillgoers for joining us.

Read more about Farm Stop on farmstop.co.uk.

Read more about Hillgoers on hillgoers.com.

Business-to-business product presentation to our staff

In August, we hosted our Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire focused internal product presentation. We had a wonderful session with seven regional businesses which took time to share their business journey with our staff.

Thank you to Braemar Highland Experience, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, Braemar Castle, Glen Dye, Meldrum House, Glen Garioch Distillery, and Amuse Restaurant Experience.

Travel trade masterclass with VisitAberdeenshire

On Tuesday 26 September, we partnered with VisitAberdenshire to deliver a masterclass for local businesses looking to deepen their understanding of working with the travel trade. 

10 businesses from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire attended the event, hearing up-to-date insights and trends from international markets.

They got a refresh of the travel trade distribution landscape and were encouraged to work cross-business on new bookable products to increase higher visitor spend at quieter times of the year.

What's new on visitscotland.com?

We're always looking to share inspirational and helpful content for the region's visitors. Take a look at some of the new content on visitscotland.com focused on Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire:

Related links