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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 14/02/2024

We have an established annual programme of travel trade events.

These include those we attend overseas and those, like VisitScotland Connect, at home in Scotland.

At these events, we invite tour operators and other intermediaries from across the globe to join us and Scotland’s tourism businesses.

The benefits of attending travel trade events

Attendance is a valuable way of ensuring that we all work to extend and evolve the Scotland offering that operators are taking out to the world. We want to ensure that Scotland continues to be an attractive destination which addresses visitor trends and demands.

Working with tour operators is an important way to ensure that the right products and experiences are out there in the booking channels that our visitors prefer to use.

In the current climate, we know that Scottish businesses face high costs. So, participation in the big trade events may not always be possible. We have been working to provide new, low-cost ways to connect with tour operators and travel advisors.

Our UK-based events remove the cost of travelling overseas to make connections. This is particularly important for businesses who are smaller or are new to working with the travel trade.

North America Business Development Mission

This appointment-based workshop provided a platform for Scottish tourism businesses to learn more about the North American market. The event took place in London on 28 November 2023. Pre-event support ensured that those new to the travel trade and the US market were able to approach the meetings, armed to present their offering and establish new business relationships.

There were 25 international buyers in attendance. These included the following who sell both group and individual tours to the US and Canadian traveller:

  • London-based tour operators
  • destination management companies
  • online travel agents

Examples of feedback from buyer delegates

"Attending the business development mission was a fantastic experience. The event provided a platform to foster valuable connections and insights that are crucial for business growth. I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to leveraging these new relationships for mutual success."
 “I left energised and excited by the levels of innovation, imagination and passion in the room. Despite the popularity of Scotland as a destination, it is clear that this is not taken for granted. After a busy day of back-to-back, quality appointments, I left looking forward to working on new and exciting projects for our North American clients. Scotland as a destination continues to evolve, and the future is brighter than ever.”

Examples of feedback from supplier delegates

“It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with old and new tour operator partners and to learn more about their tour product requirements for 2024 and beyond.”

“The importance of the North American market to our travel trade operations cannot be overstated, and in turn, their visits to our properties help protect Scotland’s heritage for generations to come.

“The event was a fantastic opportunity to highlight some of our unique experiences, which have been developed with international audiences in mind. Meeting the clients face to face helps us to develop strong relationships, and we look forward to working with everyone we met.” 

Scotland’s New Experiences Workshop

5 December saw the launch of a new low-cost, entry level travel trade workshop format in Edinburgh.

This event was developed in response to the demand for new products by destination management companies (DMCs). It brought together Scottish tourism businesses and international buyers from destination management companies.

22 businesses, 14 destination management companies, and Scottish-based tour operators were in attendance. Participation was based on businesses’ responsible product offering and business practices.

The destination management companies at the event sell tours to tour operators and travel agents from all around the globe. This format allowed us to:

  • introduce businesses new to working via the travel trade
  • addressing the operators’ demand for new, unique, and responsible products

Immediate feedback was resoundingly positive from both sides.

Examples of feedback from buyer delegates

“It has given us a wider scope of where to take clients and the quality of the suppliers are excellent.”

“It has made us consider trying to promote other areas of Scotland... as the usual popular areas are so saturated.”

“There are definitely people we will be in contact with [with] a view to working with them in future.”

Examples of feedback from supplier delegates

“As an introduction to the travel trade industry it was excellent, non- threatening(!) and eased us in. Meeting with high-level personnel in this area was very useful.”

“We are thrilled with the business potential that this has brought for us. We have been trying to figure out how to work with the travel trade for a while now and we think this event has finally started to unblock and demystify this process and open the doors for potential business for us.”

“Brilliant opportunity to introduce the potential of working with the travel trade.”

“We have a booking with one buyer, another in progress. Another has listed us on the info packs and most of the others have been in touch.”

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