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Visit Scotland | Alba

Inspirational stories from our tourism industry

In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation we continue to be amazed at the resilience and innovation of our tourism industry across Scotland. We wanted to share a few examples of the great work that we know is being replicated in regions across the country:

North

Some examples from the north of Scotland, including our islands:

  • Speyside Wildlife has started a live #dailybirdsong every day on Facebook, bringing the local area to followers.  
  • Deeside Distillery has been using its gin to make hand sanitiser for local charities and frontline services struggling to source any. 
  • Isle of Harris Distillery is producing hand sanitiser to help support local businesses. It has also released a second online album on Spotify, The Harris Ceilidh #02, and the first in a series of short films, Harris Pause #01, to help future visitors find a moment of mindful connection with the Outer Hebrides.  
  • Ortak, in Orkney, are offering a free grocery service to supply essentials to the local community who cannot access shops. They're serving up to 150 people in their local community with the help of Orkney Football Club. The Ortak showroom has now developed into a small supermarket where those considered at risk to shop alone in safety.  They are also offering free delivery of hand sanitiser provided by Deerness Distillery. Orders can be placed by emailing shop@ortak.co.uk or calling 01856 873201. 
  • Orkney Distilling (Kirkjuvagr Gin) have donated 1,000 litres of hand gel to locals, and those further afield through donations to ferry services, hospitals, coast guards and Search & Rescue teams across the UK. 

  • Zoe Davidson Jewellery, in Orkney, has launched a facebook campaign to shine a light on key workers in the UK. 

  • The Papay Ranger is creating virtual tours of Papay, Orkney, which are available on Vimeo. 

  • Orkneyology, the storytelling site, is posting stories by storyteller Tom Muir under Tales for Troubled Times.  
  • Fèis Rois, a Highland based traditional music festival, is taking its 30th anniversary festival online. Scotland’s top musicians and singers will be taking part in Virtual Fèis Rois from Friday 1 May – Sunday 3 May via Facebook Live.  
  • Shetland Arts is hosting its regular programme of wellbeing activities online to help boost spirits. Tune into the Wellbeing Choir via Facebook Live on Tuesday 21 and 28 April at 7pm. Singers will be able to download the song sheets in advance on social media. 
  • MacGregors Bar in Inverness is hosting daily Facebook Live sessions #liveatfive. Expect online pub quizzes, traditional music sessions and storytelling from this Thistle award-winning business. 
  • Aberdeen-based Boozy Events will bring cocktail making experiences to your door after launching a new online mixology masterclass. Boozy Events: To Your Door will shake things up for those looking for something different to do during isolation.
Mareel, Shetland Arts in Lerwick

East

Innovative examples from the east of Scotland:

  • Pitlochry Festival Theatre has launched an entertainment programme for all ages. #PFTLightHopeJoy aims to entertain audiences in isolation with demonstrations and performances.
  • Blair Drummond Safari Park is now doing weekly Facebook live sessions on a Thursday at 12pm (subject to change). Learn about the animals and how keepers look after them.
  • Etape Caledonia has launched the Virtual Etape Caledonia. This new event, based on the annual live event, will take place during May in support of The NHS Charities COVID-19 Appeal and Marie Curie.
  • While V&A Dundee is closed, you can still enjoy the museum online. Access learning resources, take on challenges and read stories.
  • Museums of the University of St Andrews has launched online workshops through Facebook, including experiments, stories and crafts.
  • Farms across Scotland, including Belkello Farm (Dundee), Newton Farm Holidays (Angus) and Ardross Farm Shop (Fife), have been taking part in #Lambathon. A different farm will be showcasing farming life each day over a week at 2pm via Facebook live. Check Go Rural Scotland on Facebook to see which farm will be broadcasting each day.
Pitlochry Festival Theatre

South

From Dunbar to Kirkcudbright, find out what businesses are doing across the south of Scotland:

  • In replacement of its regular farm tours, Jacksons at Jedburgh is providing virtual farm tours and sharing photos and educational information on Facebook. 
  • Tour company Mary's Meanders, based in Linlithgow, has launched a virtual Outlander locations tour to be delivered via Zoom.  
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is creating a Virtual Spring by sharing images and films of its four Gardens – Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan – online via its website and social media platforms.
  • On Friday 27 March Ten Hill Place in Edinburgh opened its doors to NHS staff for free. It has already had 1,000 nights booked, accommodating over 200 key workers.
  • The Station House Cookery School in Kirkcudbright is offering a free cookery advice helpline, providing online food orders for collection and has launched a new recipes and factsheets section to its website.
  • Dynamic Earth has launched #DynamicEarthOnline. Everyday families can get involved with new and exciting challenges.
  • While all Invisible Cities tours have been suspended, the team at Invisible (Edinburgh) has created a virtual tour for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home.
  • Belhaven Bikes in Dunbar is offering a free bike hire service to NHS staff and other key workers.
  • Edinburgh School of Food & Wine is making around 500 meals a day from its kitchen facilities to send to people in need, to support Edinburgh Food Social.

Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

West

And there's lots going on across the west of Scotland too:

  • Red Bus Bistro is launching its popular afternoon tea for collection and delivery in Glasgow on 5 June. They're also launching a virtual whisky experience – pairing Scottish dishes with malt whiskies and delivering them to your door – to enjoy virtually with their whisky expert. Booking will soon be available online. To express your interest please email marketing@redbusbistro.co.uk
  • Mackintosh at the Willow is adding weekly historic blogs to its website and created a new Home Sweet Home page sharing different Mackintosh recipes each week.
  • Maid of the Loch, Loch Lomond’s paddle steamer, has launched a virtual cruise to celebrate the anniversary of her first ever public cruise on 25 May 1953. Step back in time and experience the joys of the ‘bonnie banks’ from this historic steamship. Book a ‘ticket’ via the online shop – all income raised will be a much-needed boost for the charity.

  • Yellow Hare Café on Tiree has launched a baking delivery service, with home baking being delivered by owner Kate MacLeod across the UK. More than 250 boxes were baked and delivered within the first month of this new service, reaching locations as far as London and Devon!

  • Glasgow Science Centre is bringing science into people’s homes every day at 10am with GSC at home across its social media channels.
  • Once Upon a Whisky, which normally operates whisky and beer tours in Glasgow and Edinburgh, has launched virtual whisky tastings on Thursday and Friday evenings.
  • Stanelydrive, a Renfrewshire-based chauffeur travel company, has been supporting Accord Hospice by offering its V Class Mercedes (normally used for tours and transfers) to help maintain the vital patient services the Hospice provides within the community. By removing the middle row of seats, a two-metre safe distance between the driver and patient has been created, allowing patient transfers so that treatment can continue while maintaining physical distancing.

  • The Coig, touring routes around the Clyde coast and islands, has started a #SaveYourFaves campaign to provide future visitors with inspiration to make plans once the travel restrictions are eased. If your business is based in the area and offering any offers or vouchers you’d like to share please email them to sally.gale@thecoig.com.
  • The Laird’s Table Restaurant at Craufurdland Country Estate has introduced hampers and homemade ready meals for takeaway and offering a home delivery service locally on weekends.
  • Athough Islay's annual Fèis Ìle festival is cancelled for 2020, Kilchoman Distillery has plans to bring Islay to your home on 28 May with tasting packs, live online events, whisky giveaways and video updates.
The Laird's Table restaurant at Craufurdland Country Estate

A big thank you

We want to thank all of these businesses, and the many more across the country, for the amazing work you continue to do during these uncertain times. We appreciate that you're facing your biggest ever challenge and we share your concerns for the immediate and longer term.